Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick hasn't seen nearly enough of oft-injured running back Kevin McDougal in his four-year career, but he liked what he saw Thursday night.
"I've never seen Kevin McDougal look better," Lubick said. "He's not going to go down easy. That's one of the reasons he gets hurt, fighting for extra yards."
McDougal rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown and threw for another as Colorado State ended a two-game losing streak to its arch-rival, beating Air Force 41-21.
Colorado State, posting its fourth straight victory, scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 41-6 lead.
With 254 yards rushing and 231 passing, Colorado State kept the Air Force defense off-balance throughout the game.
"I think every time we've had an offense that can pass and run, we've won," McDougal said. "It's always nice to hit a pass, then a run, then a pass.
"Matt did a great job of keeping it all together, and our offensive line blocked just unbelievably."
Air Force (6-4, 2-4), punchless under starting quarterback Mike Thiessen, didn't score a touchdown until late in the third quarter behind backup Cale Bonds, who engineered an 80-yard drive that ended on Jeremy Laster's 10-yard run.
Safety Erik Olson sparked the CSU defense with nine tackles and two interceptions, helping hold the nation's No. 1 rushing team to 230 yards on the ground, well under the Falcons' average of 292.
"They gave us a good old fanny kicking, that's how you could describe it," Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry said. "I don't know how many of you have ever had a nightmare, but I had one in that third quarter."
The hard-running McDougal, raising his conference-leading rushing total to 1,051 yards, se up three touchdowns with runs of 66, 22 and 34 yards.
Late in the first half, he took a pitchout and tossed a 3-yard TD pass to tight end Leon Smith. He burst 2 yards up the middle for a score midway through the third period, triggering the Rams' 21-point outburst in the period.
McDougal's 34-yard run preceded freshman Rahsaan Sanders' 14-yard scoring run with 4:30 left in the period. The Rams then scored again just a minute later after Thiessen fumbled a snap. Newton passed 18 yards to Rebstock for the TD.
Newton completed 15-of-27 passes for 210 yards with one interception.
The Falcons struck first on Dave Adams' 52-yard field goal in the first quarter, aided by a wind gusting to 70 mph but which gradually subsided.
Colorado State countered with an 80-yard touchdown drive that included Newton's third-down passes of 14 yards to Dallas Davis and 31 yards to Rebstock. Newton scrambled the final 4 yards for a 7-3 lead with 3:46 left in the first quarter.
Thiessen's 36-yard run helped set up Jackson Whiting's 24-yard field goal early in the second period.
Later in the period, Air Force's Scott Gribben punted out of bounds at the Colorado State 3-yard line, but McDougal promptly reversed that poor field position, bolting 66 yards up the middle on the first play. Three plays later, Rebstock made a leaping 23-yard TD reception over cornerback Tony Jones.
The Rams lost backup tight end Cory Woolstenhulme in the first quarter. Woolstenhulme was removed from the field in an ambulance after experiencing what officials called numbness in his left side and a possible neck sprain. He was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays, which were negative.
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