FORT COLLINS, Colorado (Ticker) -- With Cecil Sapp hampered by a toe injury, Bradlee Van Pelt led Colorado State to a Liberty Bowl berth.
Van Pelt passed for 120 yards and rushed for 106 and a touchdown as the 15th-ranked Rams held on to defeat New Mexico, 22-14, to clinch the Mountain West Conference title.
Colorado State (10-2, 6-0 MWC) jumped to a 12-0 first-quarter lead on a safety, a 23-field goal by Jeff Babcock and a three-yard run by Van Pelt.
The Rams made it 19-0 with 8:31 to play in the half when linebacker Adam Wade recovered a fumble by New Mexico running back Dontrell Moore at the Colorado State 37 and ran for nine yards before pitching it to cornerback Rhett Nelson, who race the final 54 yards into the Lobos' end zone.
New Mexico (6-6, 4-2) climbed within 22-14 on a 12-yard run by Moore with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter but could not score again.
After the Lobos had a drive stall at the Rams' 33 with three minutes to play, Van Pelt and Sapp killed the clock with first-down pickups, highlighted by a 29-yard scamper by Van Pelt in which the quarterback lost his left shoe cutting across the field.
The Rams, who won their sixth straight game, recorded their third outright MWC title and fourth 10-win season, all under coach Sonny Lubick.
Moore rushed for 181 yards on 30 carries for the Lobos, who outgained the Rams, 307-252. Sapp, Colorado State's star running back, was limited to 36 yards on 14 carries.
Lobos quarterback Casey Kelly went 19-of-30 for 121 yards without an interception.
New Mexico, which has lost five in a row to Colorado State, needs to defeat Wyoming in its season finale next week to become bowl-eligible.
If the Lobos defeat the Cowboys, they will become the only team in the nation to increase its win total every year since 1999. New Mexico won three games in 1998, four in 1999, five in 2000 and six last year.