Colorado State's Gartrell (Shavers) Johnson was reluctant to talk about his career-high 285 yards rushing, so teammate Tommie Hill took over for him.
"I'm not going to give him credit because he got run down twice," Hill joked after Colorado State rallied for a 40-35 victory over Fresno State on Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl at Albuquerque, N.M.
Johnson, a one-time standout at Miami Springs High, added 90 yards receiving for 375 total yards and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns. All day long, he left defenders reaching for the dreadlocks tumbling out of his helmet.
His yards rushing were the second-most ever in a bowl, trailing only a 307-yard effort by P.J. Daniels of Georgia Tech in the 2004 Humanitarian Bowl. It was also the second-best rushing performance in school history.
Johnson sealed the victory on a 77-yard touchdown burst with 1:46 remaining, igniting a celebration by fans who made the seven-hour drive from Fort Collins, Colo. He was named the most valuable offensive player as Colorado State (7-6) won a bowl for the first time since 2001.
Johnson had a 57-yard run in the first quarter and a 57-yard reception on a shovel pass from Billy Farris in the second period.
The Rams took their first lead at 33-28 when Farris threw a 69-yard TD to Rashaun Greer with seven minutes left. Fresno State cornerback Sharrod Davis took a big chance but whiffed on his attempt to bat the ball. Greer made the catch at the 30 and went untouched into the end zone.
The loss capped a rough season for the injury-depleted Bulldogs (7-6), who talked in fall workouts about a possible Bowl Championship Series run.
It also spoiled big rushing efforts by Fresno State's Anthony Harding and Lonyae Miller, who each scored twice. Harding finished with 120 yards rushing, and Miller added 113.