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Nation: Mountain West belongs to CSU

©Associated Press
November 24, 2002

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Colorado State converted two turnovers into touchdowns, including Rhett Nelson's long fumble return, and the Rams clinched the Mountain West title with a 22-14 win over New Mexico on Saturday night.

The Rams won their sixth straight though leading rusher Cecil Sapp played sparingly because of turf toe in his left foot.

New Mexico rallied from a 19-0 second-quarter deficit with two touchdowns, getting to 22-14 late in the third quarter.

Colorado State, headed to the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 against the Conference USA champion, was outgained 307-252.

Sapp, who did not start, finished with 36 yards on 14 carries.

"He wasn't running like the Cecil of old," CSU coach Sonny Lubick said, "but the one thing about Cecil is you can always depend on him protecting the football."

New Mexico needs a win in its final game, at home against Wyoming, to be bowl eligible.

* * *

BOISE ST. 44, NEVADA 7: Brock Forsey ran for 187 yards and four touchdowns for the visiting Broncos, who shut down the nation's leading receiver and wrapped up the Western Athletic Conference title.

For the third time in four seasons, Boise State could play at its home stadium in the Humanitarian Bowl on Dec. 31. School officials said before the game that a win might open up other possibilities, including an invitation to the Seattle Bowl.

Ryan Dinwiddie was 10-of-15 for 165 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos, who recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass and blocked a punt on their way to a 27-0 halftime lead.

SAN DIEGO ST. 38, AIR FORCE 34: James Truvillion scored on a 1-yard run with 58 seconds left for the visiting Aztecs, who scored 21 in the final 9:54. The Falcons all but clinched their first national rushing title with 413 yards.

TOLEDO 33, N. ILLINOIS 30: Donta Greene caught a 26-yard score from Brian Jones with 41 seconds left for the visiting Rockets, who rallied from a 17-0 deficit. If Toledo defeats Bowling Green next week the Rockets win the Mid-American Conference West. If not, Northern Illinois earns the berth in the conference title game.

MARSHALL 24, OHIO 21: Byron Leftwich came off the bench and threw for 219 yards and a touchdown for Marshall, which clinched a second straight berth in the GMAC Bowl and its sixth straight MAC East Division title. The Thundering Herd hosts the conference title game Dec. 7.

BOWLING GREEN 62, E. MICH. 21: Josh Harris passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two scores for the host Falcons. Harris threw a 24-yard score to James Hawkins in the first quarter and scored on runs of 3 and 15 yards in the second.

N. TEXAS 30, MID. TENNESSEE 20: Andrew Smith threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns for the visiting Mean Green, who completed a perfect Sun Belt Conference season. Ja'Mel Branch of North Texas had seven catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

FRESNO ST. 19, SAN JOSE ST. 16: Asen Asparuhov's fourth field goal, a 27-yarder with just over six minutes left, lifted the visiting Bulldogs, who clinched a third straight appearance in the Silicon Valley Classic.

W. MICHIGAN 35, C. MICHIGAN 10: Trovon Riley ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns for the Broncos, who earned their first win in Mount Pleasant since 1973.

AKRON 48, KENT ST. 10: Brandon Payne ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns and Bob Hendry added 110 yards rushing and a score for the visiting Zips.

BALL ST. 41, BUFFALO 21: Marcus Merriweather scored three touchdowns, all on 3-yard runs, for the host Cardinals.

LA.-MONROE 34, LA.-LAFAYETTE 10: Bryant Jacobs ran for 139 yards and two touchdowns to lead host Louisiana-Monroe.

SMU 24, TULSA 21: Kris Briggs ran for 198 yards and scored two touchdowns for the host Mustangs.

LOUISIANA TECH 38, UTEP 24: Joe Smith ran for 162 yards and four touchdowns for the host Bulldogs.

UTAH 13, BYU 6: Brandon Warfield ran for a career-high 194 yards and a touchdown for the host Utes, who ensured the Cougars' first losing season in 29 years. The Cougars needed to win to be bowl eligible. BYU led the nation in scoring last season, averaging 46.7 points, but has topped 20 points in only half of its games this season.

NEW MEXICO ST. 35, IDAHO 31: Freshman Paul Dombrowski threw for 185 yards and ran for 109 to lead the visiting Aggies. Dombrowski's last score came on an 11-yard option play with 3:28 left.

HARVARD 20, YALE 13: Ryan Fitzpatrick ran for two touchdowns, helping the host Crimson erase a 6-0 halftime deficit in the 119th meeting in the series.

PENN 31, CORNELL 0: Mike Mitchell completed 28 of 39 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown for the visiting Quakers, who clinched the Ivy League title.

LAFAYETTE 14, LEHIGH 7: Joe McCourt's 3-yard touchdown run with 5:53 left in the game broke a tie at 7 for the host Leopards, who won the 138th meeting in the most-played series in college football.

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