Case Keenum finished 37-for-54 passing with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. The last pick ended the Cougars' drive to overcome a 21-point deficit.
Houston (1-3) lost for the third straight time despite producing 422 yards of total offense.
Trailing 21-3, the Cougars scored on their initial possession of the second half, going 85 yards on 10 plays, capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to Mark Haffner. Two possessions later, Keenum threw a 15-yard TD pass to Tyron Carrier to cut it to 21-17 with 2:07 left in the third quarter.
Colorado State came right back with a 15-play, 73-yard scoring drive. Farris found Kory Sperry all alone in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard scoring pass to make it 28-17 with 9:27 left in the game.
The Cougars held after Mike Pagnotta gave the Rams the ball back at the 42 with an interception. Houston was within 28-25 with 2:31 left after a 3-yard TD pass from Keenum to L.J. Castile and Keenum converted a two-point conversion pass to Castile.
The Rams ran three running plays to Johnson that netted two yards and then punted the ball away to the Cougars 32. Taking over with 1:06 remaining, Houston reached the 15-yard line with eight seconds to go. Instead of going for a tying field goal, the Cougars elected to go for the win.
But Kubiak stepped in front of Castile in the end zone to seal the win.
The Rams led 7-0 after one quarter, but failed to convert on two other scoring chances. On the second play of the game, Farris hit Morton in stride for a 79-yard touchdown pass to put Colorado State ahead 7-0.
Kyle Bell capped a 75-yard drive with a 1-yard dive with 10:07 left in the second quarter to put Colorado State ahead 14-0.
The Cougars got their offense moving after Bell's score but faced a 4th-and-12 at the Colorado State 36. Pagnotta sacked Keenum on a safety blitz for a 15-yard loss.
The Rams cashed in and were poised for what would have been a 47-yard field goal attempt by DeLine. Holder Nick Oppenneer dropped the snap bur ran 14 yards to the Cougars 16. Two plays later Johnson gave Colorado State a 21-0 lead with a 7-yard TD run.
Ben Bell made it a 21-3 game with a 17-yard field goal for the Cougars as time expired in the first half.