5 Thoughts - 2008 New Mexico Bowl
Colorado State WR Rashaun Greer
Colorado State WR Rashaun Greer
Posted Dec 20, 2008

Rashaun Greer caught a 69-yard touchdown pass to give Colorado State the lead, but it was Gartrell Johnson who put the game away with an epic performance in the 40-35 win. Check out the CFN 5 Thoughts on the 2008 New Mexico Bowl

5 Thoughts ... 2008 New Mexico Bowl

Colorado State 40 ... Fresno State 35

GAME REVIEW: Gartrell Johnson runs wild 
- 2008 CFN New Mexico Bowl Preview
New Mexico Bowl Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1. Was this the official announcement that Colorado State is about to become a player again? Even after exploding on Fresno State, and despite a nice battle with TCU earlier in the year, there's still a ten-mile wide talent gap between the Rams and the top teams in the league. RB Gartrell Johnson is gone and QB Billy Farris needs to be replaced, but as head coach Steve Fairchild showed, he has things pointed well in the right direction. Now the coaching staff has to use the off-season to find some semblance of a pass rush. This was the nation's worst team when it came to getting to the quarterback and there wasn't any pressure on FSU QB Tom Brandstater. - Pete Fiutak

2. Can we all stop genuflecting to Fresno State head coach Pat Hill now? The Bulldogs haven’t truly been scary since the beginning of the decade and this year’s squad was a major disappointment. At times, the program and the coach have lived off an old reputation without being able to back it up. Once ranked, Fresno State went 2-4 to close out the season, including a pretty weak effort in the New Mexico Bowl. Anyone, anyplace, anytime? It’s catchy, but slogans go only so far in an improving WAC. -
Richard Cirminiello     

The Fresno State program is an open book, and the pages don't offer wholesome reading material. This team always gets jacked up for big-name opponents, but it plays poorly against teams it should beat. Within the course of a given game, Fresno surges when it gets a positive run going, but sags when a negative play abruptly halts momentum. This was exactly the case on Saturday, as a horrible interception by senior quarterback Tom Brandstater--with the Bulldogs leading 28-20 early in the fourth quarter--led to a 22-point run by Colorado State.
It's always fascinating to see certain football programs display the same characteristics year after year, as though the same patient has the same diagnosis and the same psychological profile. Fresno State is one such school, and after this fourth-quarter meltdown, it's time for head coach Pat Hill to re-evaluate the way he motivates his team. Instead of putting all the focus on the sexy early-season non-conference matchup he normally schedules, Hill needs to emphasize weekly consistency. Only then will the FSU coaching staff produce a more levelheaded approach--and gain more positive results--from a roster of players that is too hyped in moments of glory, and too down in moments of frustration. Getting players to play on an even keel will serve Fresno State well in 2009 and beyond. - Matthew Zemek

4. Yeah, we’ve all heard about the glut of bowl games that reward mediocrity. Blah, blah, blah. Hey, if we didn’t have so many berths, think of how many smaller school players, like Colorado State RB Gartrell Johnson, would never get a chance to strut in front of a national audience. Events, such as the New Mexico Bowl, allow Johnson a rare opportunity to introduce himself to a nation that has probably never seen him run. In case you missed it, the senior put on a show at the expense of Fresno State, racking up 375 total yards and scoring twice. - Richard Cirminiello

Throw it up and hope it sticks. When you can pound away with the running game like Colorado State was able to do with Gartrell Johnson, you can get a few breaks when it comes to the passing game. Colorado State, who generally likes to run deeper routes anyway, took a couple of big shots that shouldn’t have worked, but did. The first was a 22-yard touchdown pass to Kory Sperry with two seconds to play in the first half. Sperry wasn’t open, but he was able to come up with the play in double coverage. The second was the key 69-yard touchdown catch from Rashaun Greer. It was a mediocre, underthrown pass by Billy Farris, bad coverage by Fresno State, and a score that changed the game around before Johnson put it away with his 77-yard scoring dash. In bowls, the underdog/team with nothing to lose can take more of those big shots that aren’t necessarily there. They certainly make the early bowls more fun. - Pete Fiutak