FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Kyle Bell was one of many stars for the Colorado State offense Thursday night, rushing for a career-high 197 yards and three scores in a 41-23 victory over Air Force.
Bell, a sophomore who earned the starting job when Nnamdi Ohaeri was lost in the season opener, added this to a 183-yard game last week and became the first Colorado State player to record back-to-back 100-yard games since 2002.
He was a standout on a night full of big performances for the Rams (2-2, 1-0 Mountain West), who won their second straight and handed the Falcons (2-3, 1-2) their third straight loss.
David Anderson stayed on pace to become the most productive receiver in school history, catching seven passes for 105 yards and two scores. This marked his 12th career 100-yard game and Anderson stayed well on pace to reach former Rams great Greg Primus for the most receptions and yards in school history.
Little-used receiver Luke Roberts had five catches for 123 yards and an acrobatic touchdown, caught over the arms of an outstretched defender for a 13-9 lead late in the second.
Throwing all the passes was Justin Holland, who went 17-for-26 for 318 yards and three scores. The Rams finished with 551 yards in offense.
Air Force was coming off one- and three-point losses to Wyoming and Utah and was hoping to tighten up the small details and pull off a win in this rivalry between teams separated by 110 miles on I-25.
The difference in this one was about more than the small stuff, though.
The Falcons were overwhelmed by Colorado State's offensive line and as the game wore on, their exhaustion showed — never more than when Bell ran untouched on a misdirection play for a nine-yard score and a 41-23 lead with 6:10 left.
Earlier, their tackling wasn't great, as Bell could attest. His 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter came on a second or third effort after Air Force failed to bring him down. He had a 29-yard run in the third, as well, most of which was gained after he appeared to be wrapped up. Roberts gained 36 yards to set up the final score on a play in which three Falcons whiffed.
Air Force opened the second half with a three-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to take a 16-13 lead and it appeared this would be a back-and-forth game. But as the defense wore down, it became obvious the Falcons would regret settling for field goals on three trips inside the CSU 20 in the first half.
Chad Hall had a career-high 107 yards rushing for Air Force, but that was one of the few highlights for the Falcons.
Trailing by 18 late, Air Force tried some trickery. Hall threw crossfield to Greg Kirkwood on a kickoff return and Kirkwood took the ball 85 yards to the end zone. But officials ruled Hall threw a forward pass, bringing frustrated Falcons coach Fisher DeBerry onto the field for a heated, but futile argument.