FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Garrett Grayson's record-breaking night was upstaged by the right foot of his kicker.
Not that the Colorado State quarterback minded. Not that he minded even in the least.
Jared Roberts kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired and Grayson threw for 243 yards, including a long pass to get Colorado State into field goal range, as the Rams rallied for a 16-13 win over Utah State on Saturday night.
Grayson became Colorado State's all-time passing leader in this game, breaking the mark held by Kelly Stouffer. Grayson has now thrown for 7,250 yards in his career.
But it was Roberts who was picked up by teammates, who weaved their way through the capacity crowd that had stormed the field.
That mattered little to Grayson as his team became bowl eligible for a second straight year under coach Jim McElwain.
"My heart is still pumping," Grayson said.
The Rams (6-1, 2-1 Mountain West) were all set to let the game go to overtime with the ball at their 12 and just 58 seconds left. That was only cemented when Dee Hart rushed for 3 yards to begin the drive.
But then Hart broke off a 17-yard gain and the Rams quickly had a change of heart. Grayson called the number of his favorite target, Rashard Higgins, sending him on a deep pattern.
With defenders blanketing him, Higgins hauled in a 46-yard completion to set the stage for Roberts.
"It's my job to get the ball," said Higgins, who had 10 catches for 187 yards. "I'm just doing my job."
Same with Roberts, who tied the game on a 46-yarder with 1:50 remaining. That after missing a 47-yarder earlier in the quarter. It was weighing on him, too.
Roberts' teammates, though, made sure he kept his head in the game.
"To have their support, it gives you confidence in yourself," Roberts said.
Utah State (4-3, 1-1) had its 11-game conference road win streak snapped, which dated back to Oct. 15, 2011, when the Aggies were members of the WAC.
The Aggies thought they had averted a last-second field goal attempt when CSU jumped offside before the snap, which usually mandates a time runoff. But since there was a timeout just before the play, the officials explained to Utah State coach Matt Wells the clock wouldn't start until it was snapped.
A moment later, the Aggies were avoiding euphoric fans spilling onto the field.
"That's a tough way to lose a game," Wells said. "Credit to that field-goal kicker. What a good kicker. The kid stayed focused and made it."
Nick Diaz kicked a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give the Aggies the lead and appeared like it just might hold up, especially given the way their defense was playing. Utah State sacked Grayson eight times.
Utah State backup quarterback Craig Harrison stepped in after Darell Garretson left the game early in the third quarter with a lower right arm injury following a hit by two Colorado State defenders. Garretson later returned to the sideline with his arm in a sling.
Harrison was buried deep on the depth chart a month ago but quickly moved up when Chuckie Keeton suffered a season-ending knee injury in a win over Wake Forest on Sept. 13. Harrison finished 5 of 12 for 28 yards.
Asked if they changed anything with Harrison taking over for Garretson, Wells simply said, "We stayed the same."
The game started well for the Rams as Higgins caught a short pass over the middle and turned it into a 69-yard gain on the first play. Three plays later, Hart scored on a short run.
The lead didn't last long as Joe Hill took a delayed handoff and went untouched through the heart of Colorado State's defense for a 59-yard score. Diaz later added a 25-yard field goal.
Roberts hit a 52-yarder late in the second quarter to tie the game at 10.
The Rams were their own worst enemy, accumulating more yards in penalties (116) than they did in rushing (75).
"Uncharacteristic of who we are," McElwain said. "At the same time, we overcame a couple, and that's a good thing."
The announced attendance for this game was 32,546, making this the first sellout for the Rams since Oct. 22, 2004, against Wyoming. The traffic was so snarled outside the stadium that quite a few fans didn't even make it into their seats until early in the second quarter.
In plenty of time to catch the dramatic finish, though.