Mike Gimenez threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Greg Primus and Todd Yert ran 52 yards for the deciding score, and Colorado State denied a last-minute Oregon conversion attempt to beat the Ducks 32-31 in the Freedom Bowl Saturday night.
Gimenez led the Rams (9-4) 75 yards in four plays early in the fourth quarter for the score that overcame a 25-19 Oregon lead. On the first play of the drive, an interception by Oregon's Rory Dairy was nullified by a roughing-the-passer penalty.On the scoring play, Primus went down the left side on a fly pattern and hauled in the pass in front of Eric Castle, who fell down going for the ball.
Oregon (8-4) drove to the Colorado State 26 with 8:35 left, but Sean Burwell lost his second fumble of the game and Colorado State's Eric Tippeconnic recovered.
Seven plays later, Yert went up the middle, cut left and ran into the clear when two defenders collided, giving the Rams a 32-25 lead.
Bill Musgrave, whose third touchdown pass of the game was a 44-yarder to Michael McClellan that gave the the Ducks a 25-19 lead, got Oregon within reach of victory in the final minute.
At the end of an 11-play, 79-yard drive, Burwell ran a yard to get the Ducks within a point with 61 seconds to play. Musgrave completed the conversion pass to McClellan, but officials ruled that McClellan failed to cross the goal line.
Musgrave completed 29 of 47 passes for 392 yards and three TDs.
Colorado State was making its first bowl appearance in 42 seasons. Its only other postseason appearance was a loss to Occidental in the Raisin Bowl on New Year's Day 1949.
The Ducks were making consecutive postseason appearances for the first time.
Giminez scored on a 1-yard run on the Rams' opening drive of the game, but Musgrave had the Ducks in front by halftime. His 3-yard pass to Burwell 23 seconds before halftime gave the Ducks a 17-14 led.
Two big Oregon mistakes let the Rams take the lead.
Colorado State pulled to 17-16 with a safety with 7:30 left in the third quarter. Musgrave fumbled in the end zone after a muffed handoff and Bud Bowie recovered for the Ducks, preventing a possible Colorado State touchdown.
Late in the quarter, Oregon punter Tommy Thompson had to stoop to pick up a low snap, and inadvertantly touched his knee at the Oregon 34. Four plays later, Mike Brown kicked a 35-yard field goal and Colorado State led 19-17.