Long before they were the Colorado State Rams, they were known as the Colorado A&M Aggies.
This Saturday is Ag Day, in which festivities celebrate the past; bringing fans, students and alumni together in the present.
While CSU is known for having a strong agricultural background, it was in the name of the school for many years; Colorado Agricultural & Mechanical College. The Aggies football team dates back to the 1890s, and they wore green and gold like today, as well as orange from the 1920s until the late 1950s.
That's why this week is an “orange out” at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium; whose name drips of history itself.
It's also why current head coach Jim McElwain was seen wearing his orange “A” hat at practice this week.
“I'm big on history, I'm big on former players,” McElwain said of what Ag Day means to him. “I'm big on 'proud to be a Ram' and it's an honor to be a Ram. And in this case we get a chance to honor the Aggies. And look at the foundation of what this university's built on. So, from that standpoint, the ceremonial orange, wearing the 'A'. I look at the mountain every day as I drive into work, I see the 'A' on the mountain. There's something to be said as far as us holding up our end of the bargain. Because, it's not only an honor to be a Ram, but an honor to be an Aggie.”
Holding up their end of the bargain simply means winning this weekend.
For the Rams, this is an opportunity to capitalize on confidence gained in the loss to National Champion Alabama, a chance to go into the bye on a high.
Colorado State's defense was domineering against Alabama, stopping their first eight attempts to convert a third down while allowing only 66 rushing yards on the day.
UTEP is 1-2, a team that couldn't manage an offensive touchdown last week and was blown out 32-13 by UTSA in their home opener last Saturday. What the Miners do well on offense is run the rock, at an average of 224 yards per game, so CSU's front seven must be disciplined again this week.
Offensively, the Rams must turn drives into touchdowns, it's as simple as that. Scoring more points than the opponent is the name of the game, and the one contest Colorado State played well offensively – against Cal Poly – they won decidedly.
UTEP's 2-4-5 defense is a weird look, but one the Rams face when they play San Diego State; a smaller front the men in pumpkin and alfalfa should be able to run on with ease.
Colorado State (1-3) and UTEP (1-2) kicks off at 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
Ag Day Extras
There's a ton of festivities going on at the stadium, including a bar-b-que that's open to public from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased here. Three tournaments take place for fans, including water pong, cornhole and ladder golf for prizes.
The Rams continue to wear the raindrop decal to recognize victims of the Colorado flooding in recent weeks. There will also be special “CSU Cares” t-shirts on sale for $10 that benefit flood-effected families. Learn more about the shirts here.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist. Follow Rich on twitter (@RichKurtzman).