28
Dec
Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual Washington State Cougars nose tackle Ioane Gauta (95) loses his helmet as he tackles Colorado State Rams running back Kapri Bibbs (5) in the second quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Every year I make the hour flight over to lovely Albuquerque, New Mexico to cover the New Mexico Bowl. Like many people, I’m sure you haven’t heard of the New Mexico Bowl but I assure you its always a fun event to cover as a photographer thanks to it being a day game outdoors. To someone who spends most of his time covering football at night or in a dome, its a huge deal! Continue on to check out the incredible game!

I have been lucky enough to cover some amazing football games over the course of my career. While big events like Super Bowls and National Championships are what many photographers would kill to photograph, a small laid back college bowl game in New Mexico is always one of my favorite games of the year. 2013’s matchup between the Colorado State Rams against the Washington State Cougars would become an instant classic.

Before we get to the images let me give you a brief schedule for the day.

Fly out of Phoenix at 9:15am, arrive in Albuquerque at 10:15.

By traveling with only carry on baggage I am able to get off the plan and be in my rental car in about 20 minutes.

Arrive at stadium and set up in media room before 11am. Kickoff at noon.

All that stuff is easy, the hard part is my return flight leaves at 4:45 and lands in Phoenix at 6pm where my lovely girlfriend Kendra will be waiting to pick me up so we can head to her families Christmas Party (No stress there!) oh and I will still need to return rental car first.

This should be easy!  Ok lets get to the pics

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Washington State Cougars mascot Butch  taunts Colorado State Rams players prior to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Washington State Cougars mascot Butch taunts Colorado State Rams players prior to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Temperatures during the game were measured at 34 degrees (with windchill factored) For an AZ guy its damn cold but not so for some crazy Cougar fans.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual Washington State Cougars fans dressed up as Santa Claus and the Grinch cheer against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual
Washington State Cougars fans dressed up as Santa Claus and the Grinch cheer against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

A shot I attempt multiple times in every football game I shoot is to try and get a punt being blocked. I’ve probably only gotten five or so in my life but would take that number to six early in the game.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Washington State Cougars running back Theron West (24) blocks the punt of Colorado State Rams punter Hayden Hunt in the first quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Washington State Cougars running back Theron West (24) blocks the punt of Colorado State Rams punter Hayden Hunt in the first quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Not really sure why the teams running back is their best punt blocker but I guess he just showed us why…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Washington State Cougars running back Theron West (24) celebrates with teammates after blocking a Colorado State Rams punt in the first quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Washington State Cougars running back Theron West (24) celebrates with teammates after blocking a Colorado State Rams punt in the first quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Washington State quickly dominated the first half of play.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Washington State Cougars wide receiver Gabe Marks (9) scores a touchdown under pressure from Colorado State Rams defensive back Bernard Blake in the first quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Gabe Marks (9) scores a touchdown under pressure from Colorado State Rams defensive back Bernard Blake in the first quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Colorado State would score a few times to keep it from being a complete blowout.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/5000th, Manual Colorado State Rams wide receiver Charles Lovett (4) scores a touchdown in the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/5000th, Manual
Colorado State Rams wide receiver Charles Lovett (4) scores a touchdown in the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/5000th, Manual Colorado State Rams wide receiver Charles Lovett (4) celebrates with teammates after catching a touchdown in the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/5000th, Manual
Colorado State Rams wide receiver Charles Lovett (4) celebrates with teammates after catching a touchdown in the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

One of the cooler shots to get in football is when a players helmet flies off. Typically it seems to occur in the middle of a pile of players so you usually don’t get anything decent but today apparently was my lucky day…

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual Washington State Cougars nose tackle Ioane Gauta (95) loses his helmet as he tackles Colorado State Rams running back Kapri Bibbs (5) in the second quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual
Washington State Cougars nose tackle Ioane Gauta (95) loses his helmet as he tackles Colorado State Rams running back Kapri Bibbs (5) in the second quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Before I shoot a college football game, I always go online to do some research on which players (if any) are viewed as future NFL players. The highest ranked player I found on either team was Washington State Cougars safety Deone Bucannon. I would make it a point to get some images of him.

It definitely didn’t hurt my effort when he would intercept the ball and have a decent return towards my direction.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual Washington State Cougars safety Deone Bucannon (20) returns an interception in the second quarter against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
Washington State Cougars safety Deone Bucannon (20) returns an interception in the second quarter against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

By this point it was quickly becoming a blowout.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual Washington State Cougars wide receiver Rickey Galvin (5) is congratulated by cornerback Daquawn Brown (25) after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Rickey Galvin (5) is congratulated by cornerback Daquawn Brown (25) after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday would have a brilliant performance tying the all time bowl record (ALL bowl games in history) with six touchdown passes thrown!

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 800iso, f3.2, 1/1000th, Manual Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday (12) throws a pass in the second half against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 800iso, f3.2, 1/1000th, Manual
Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday (12) throws a pass in the second half against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual Washington State Cougars wide receiver Isiah Myers (88) is congratulated by teammate Theron West (24) after a second half touchdown against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Isiah Myers (88) is congratulated by teammate Theron West (24) after a second half touchdown against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Now is when things got interesting.

With less than three minutes to go Washington State had a 15 point lead but back to back fumbles led to Colorado State tying the game with under a minute to go with a two point conversion. (FYI, my shot sucks because I was on the Washington State bench getting ready to shoot the gatorade dunking of head coach Mike Leach…. which would never come.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual Colorado State Rams quarterback Garrett Grayson (18) celebrates as running back Donnell Alexander (7) runs into the end zone to score a two point conversion to tie the game against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual
Colorado State Rams quarterback Garrett Grayson (18) celebrates as running back Donnell Alexander (7) runs into the end zone to score a two point conversion to tie the game against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual Colorado State Rams players and fans celebrate after tying the score with a two point conversion in the fourth quarter against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual
Colorado State Rams players and fans celebrate after tying the score with a two point conversion in the fourth quarter against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

With a tie game and 33 seconds remaining, I was convinced I’d be missing my flight home as the game was sure to go into overtime.

And at that moment Washington State decided to “Coug” the game. Whats Couging the game you ask?

Here read the definition in the dictionary.

Colorado State kicks the ball off and Wazzu kick returner Teondray Caldwell would fumble the ball leading to a Colorado State recovery on the 24 yard line.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 2000iso, f3.2, 1/1000th, Manual Washington State Cougars running back Teondray Caldwell (34) fumbles the ball in the fourth quarter against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Canon 1Dx, 400mm, 2000iso, f3.2, 1/1000th, Manual
Washington State Cougars running back Teondray Caldwell (34) fumbles the ball in the fourth quarter against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

A chip shot field goal is all that stood in the Rams way of completing the ridiculous late game comeback.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual Colorado State Rams kicker Jared Roberts kicks the game winning field goal in the fourth quarter against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th, Manual
Colorado State Rams kicker Jared Roberts kicks the game winning field goal in the fourth quarter against the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

The kick is up, and its good! Game over.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Colorado State Rams run on the field to celebrate after defeating the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Colorado State Rams run on the field to celebrate after defeating the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Washington State Cougars nose tackle Ioane Gauta (95) attempts to help up cornerback Daquawn Brown (25) as Colorado State Rams run on the field to celebrate their victory in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Washington State Cougars nose tackle Ioane Gauta (95) attempts to help up cornerback Daquawn Brown (25) as Colorado State Rams run on the field to celebrate their victory in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Colorado State Rams celebrate on the field after defeating the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Colorado State Rams celebrate on the field after defeating the Washington State Cougars during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Washington State Cougars linebacker Eric Oertel (21) leaves the field as Colorado State Rams celebrate their victory in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45., f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual Washington State Cougars linebacker Eric Oertel (21) leaves the field as Colorado State Rams celebrate their victory in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Washington State Cougars linebacker Eric Oertel (21) leaves the field as Colorado State Rams celebrate their victory in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cougars 48-45.

The crazy ended provided a few good moments for photos. Shot for a few minutes than literally ran to the parking lot to hop into car to airport.

There was nobody working at the rental car return and I didn’t have any time to spare so I left car sitting there with keys in it. (Hopefully someone didn’t steal it!)

The flight ended up departing Albuquerque 30 minutes late so I was able to actually catch the flight and attend the Christmas Party with my hot date.

The end.

Next blog up will be my Best Scenery pics of 2013.


 
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