100 and counting

Oct 312005
Authors: Nick Piburn

It's no secret that Sonny Lubick is arguably most successful coach CSU has ever had – his team plays on a field named after him every home game. Friday Oct. 28 Lubick beat New Mexico for his 100th career victory with the Rams.

Before Lubick came, the Rams were buried in the bottom 25 of college football nearly every year. And when they weren't at the bottom, they were stuck in the land of mediocrity. From the year Harry Hughes left CSU in 1992, after starting in 1947, the Rams had 22 seasons in which they won only four, five or six games.

Before Lubick arrived in Fort Collins, the Rams made it to a total of two bowl games: The Raisin in 1949 and the Freedom in 1990. During Lubick's reign, CSU has made it to eight bowls, winning three.

Maybe the most important thing coach Lubick has brought to CSU is respect. The Rams were a next to nothing program before Sonny. Now this state's biggest rivalry game is CU-CSU; just ask anyone who was at the game this year.

Lubick has brought respect and credibility to the Rams by beating teams such as Colorado (three times) and leading the Rams to at least a share of six conference championships. This is Lubick's 13th season and he's won 100 games. In CSU's 13 seasons prior to Lubick's arrival the Rams had 53 wins.

Lubick has also helped many college players develop into NFL talent. He has coached 18 players that have been drafted into the NFL, and it's obvious there are a few more draft picks on this 2005 roster as well.

There's about a book's worth of great things coach Lubick has done for CSU, but his 100th win really got us thinking. We went back in time to re-celebrate Sonny's five greatest wins.

5) No. 5 is actually No. 1, that is, Sonny's first win as the Rams' head coach. Sonny made headlines by shutting down the Air Force option and winning by an awkward score of 8-5. It was Sonny's second career game as a Ram. Lubick's defense held the Falcons to 153 yards of total offense.

4) Look no further than Sonny's last game. The big 100 is the pick here. It wasn't just great for making history – it was also one of the greatest comeback wins of Sonny's career. Lubick showed why he has so many wins by out-coaching New Mexico's Rocky Long for the entire second half. Lubick and his staff made some amazing halftime adjustments that completely shut down a roaring Lobo offensive attack. CSU won 35-25, ending the game by outscoring the Lobos 30-3 while holding them to 47 yards in the second half. The game kept CSU's hopes alive for a possible conference championship. Sonny enjoyed the traditional ice bath afterwards.

3) Sonny did some amazing things in 2000. He was Mountain West Coach of the Year, leading his team to a 10-2 overall record. That magical season started with the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown where Lubick rallied his troops to a 28-24 win over CU. It was Sonny's second straight season beating the Buffs. The Rams went into the fourth quarter trailing by three, but quarterback Matt Newton threw a late pass to Jose Ochoa to seal the deal.

2) This one also came in the great 2000 season, but this one was the last game on the year. After winning his second straight Mountain West Championship, Lubick led his team to Memphis to face Dave Ragone and the Louisville Cardinals. The Rams rode their sophomore running back Cecil Sapp to a 22-17 victory in the Liberty Bowl. It was Lubick's second career Bowl victory.

1) Lubick's first bowl win came in the bowl he had previously lost twice, the Holiday Bowl. This time the Rams used Lubick trademarks to get back into the game, a second half rally and outstanding special teams. Trailing 17-14 at half the Rams scored on an 85-yard Darran Hall punt return and a 23-yard touchdown run off a fake field goal to win 35-24. The Rams finished that season 10-2 and finished ranked in the top 15.


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