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FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Kapri Bibbs ran for three touchdowns, Garrett Grayson threw for 395 yards and three TDs and Colorado State clinched its first bowl bid in five years with a 58-13 rout of Air Force on Saturday.
The Falcons were in danger of being shut out for the first time since 1992 and of their biggest margin of defeat in their history until scoring two TDs in the final five minutes. But this still was their worst loss to the Rams in this series that dates to 1957.
Bibbs leads all FBS players with 28 touchdown runs, two more than Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who has one game left, at Army on Dec. 14. His seven games with three or more TD runs is an FBS record.
Grayson topped Terry Nugent's school record for yards passing in a season with a 49-yard touchdown toss to Jordon Vaden in the third quarter, his last pass of the day, which gave him 3,327 yards on the season, eight more than Nugent had in 1983.
Grayson also hooked up with Rashard Higgins for two TDs. Higgins had seven catches for 127 yards.
Behind Bibbs (16 carries for 79 yards) and Grayson (26 of 34), the first 1,500-yard rusher and 3,000-yard passer in the same season in CSU history, the Rams (7-6, 5-3 Mountain West) clinched their first regular season winning record since 2005 — and they'll be going to a bowl game for the first time since 2008, when they beat Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl.
The Falcons (2-10, 0-8) posted their worst record since going 2-9-1 in 1980. They lost 10 games for the first time in the program's history and went winless in conference play for the first time since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1980.
Air Force has gone a school-record 258 straight games without being shut out, the fourth-longest active streak in the nation and the ninth-longest in big-school history. The last time they failed to score was Dec. 31, 1992, when they were beaten 13-0 by Mississippi in the Liberty Bowl.
Air Force had won seven straight in this series but they were outclassed from the start of this one as Bibbs scored on runs of 3 and 1 yards on Colorado State's first two series. The Rams sniffed out a fake punt by the Falcons at their own 45 and five plays later Grayson's 23-yard pass to Higgins made it 20-0.
Grayson and Higgins hooked up again from 19 yards out, and Jared Roberts' 54-yard field goal as the first half expired made it 30-0. It was the longest field goal for the Rams in 14 seasons.
After Grayson's 22-yard run capped a 95-yard drive in the third quarter that made it 37-0, Falcons running back Jon Lee fumbled and safety Trent Matthews recovered at the Falcons' 4. Bibbs took it in from there for his third TD and a 44-0 lead.
The Falcons trailed 58-0 before Colton Huntsman's 13-yard run with 5:02 remaining.
The Rams needed a seventh win to become bowl eligible rather than the usual six because they added a 13th game to their schedule this year — against Alabama, a hard-fought 31-6 loss at Tuscaloosa on Sept. 21 that served as a springboard to CSU's turnaround season.
The Rams were allowed to play a 13th game because the NCAA long ago decided to allow any school that traveled to Hawaii to play an extra game to recoup the cost of that expensive trip, and Colorado State's deal with Alabama — Rams' coach Jim McElwain's former school — was for two years and $3 million.
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton