With only one day left until Colorado State Rams football season begins, this is the perfect time for a cram session.
What’s Ag Day? Why are they wearing orange instead of green and gold? What’s that booming cannon all about? And who’s this Sonny Lubick character? These are the questions which will be circulating inside Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium this weekend.
When you attend the game this Saturday – kickoff is set for 2 p.m. MDT against Savannah State – you’ll have all the answers for those who are not in the know. You’ll look like a super fan with the knowledge we’re about to bring you.
So pay attention, cram this information like you have a test in Colorado State history 101 and ace the test on Saturday.
Ag Day: Ag Day was created in 1981 by Thurman “Fum” McGraw, a Colorado State legend, as a way to raise funds for the Agricultural College at CSU. It celebrates the agricultural heritage at Colorado State – which was once known as Colorado Agricultural & Mechanical College – and the school puts on a big, brilliant BBQ! On average, 3,500 people attend the BBQ pregame in the south lot of Hughes Stadium and taste all kinds of local produce as well as beef, pork and other locally raised animals.
Orange Out: For the last five seasons, Colorado State Rams football has celebrated their past by donning the orange “Aggies” jerseys, complete with the throw-back “bone-style” orange and green helmets. Want to sound like a true CSU historian? The colors are technically pumpkin and alfalfa. The Aggies wore orange as part of their jersey colors all the way up to 1959 when the school changed names and adopted the Rams as their official mascot. Former mascots include a bulldog – which was allegedly poisoned by CU students – Harry Hughes’ six-year old son Billy and a bear. Now it’s CAM the Ram for Colorado A&M.
The “A”: Why is there a giant “A” painted on the foothills west of the stadium? Because students decided to paint it there in 1923 and make it white in 1924. Every year since it’s been painted by students and remains a landmark for planes as they fly overhead as well as a landmark in Fort Collins.
The ROTC Cannon: With CSU being a land grant institution, they must have an ROTC presence, and the school’s original football field, Durkee Field, was also the military training field in the 1890s. The cannon first appeared at CSU Football games to open and end them in 1920. The current cannon is a 1918 French 75mm which was donated to the school in 1952 after their original cannon was needed for World War II.
Harry Hughes: Harry Hughes, who the stadium was originally named for, was the team’s head coach from 1911-1941. He led the team to eight conference championships and was nicknamed the “Dean of American Football Coaches.” Hughes was a visionary who created the “Million Dollar Play” and broke the Colorado color barrier by playing John Mosley in 1939. He was also the team’s Athletic Director for 42 years.
Sonny Lubick: Arguably the greatest coach in Colorado State football history, at least in the last 30 years. Lubick was originally an assistant at CSU from 1982-84 when it was considered one of the worst football programs in history. In 1993, following a stint at Stanford and the University of Miami, Lubick returned to the Rams to be their head coach. He took them to new, previously unreached heights. Under Sonny from 1993-2007, Colorado State went to nine bowl games, won six conference championships, were ranked in the Top 25 three times, and enjoyed a 108-74 record. The field was named after him in 2003. Lubick coached Rams consensus All-American Greg Myers in 1995.
Currently: Mike Bobo is the head coach, in his first year. He’s come to Colorado State from Georgia where he was an incredibly successful offensive coordinator. Redshirt sophomore Nick Stevens is the quarterback and the most talented player on the team is No. 82, Rashard Higgins. Defensively, No. 16 Trent Matthews is the leader and his safety partner Kevin Pierre-Louis is another young man to keep an eye on.
Fight on, you stalwart Ram team,
On to the goal,
Tear the (opponent’s) line asunder,
As down the field we thunder,
Knights of the green and gold,
Fight with all your might,
Fight on, you stalwart Ram team,
Fight, Fight, Fight!
(Sung twice with “Go Rams!” after only the second time.)
Credit for information the traditions goes to John Hirsh at ColoradoAggies.com.