For the first time in nearly 70 years, the Colorado State football team will take the field Saturday in orange uniforms.
The jerseys come as part of â€œAg Day,â€ which will pay tribute to the agricultural heritage of the university as the Rams take on the Idaho Vandals at Hughes Stadium.
The retro school colors of pumpkin and alfalfa have not been worn since the World War II era, when the school was known as Colorado A&M. To this day, the white â€œAâ€ that rests on the foothills just west of Hughes Stadium is a symbol of the schoolâ€™s former nickname: the Aggies.
In the Aggiesâ€™ first season wearing their pumpkin-colored jerseys in 1940, the uniforms were ridiculed so badly that the school opted to try out different jerseys immediately. Since that date, the school has had orange pants, but never an orange top like the ones the Rams will be sporting this weekend.
Along with a return to their Aggie roots, the game will serve as the Rams 2010 home-opener. The team hopes the return to Hughes Stadium can provide a boost big enough to end their losing streak.
â€œIt sure is good to be getting back home,â€ said head coach Steve Fairchild. â€œI know our football team is anxious and looking forward to the game.â€
The football team was referred to as the Aggies for the first 65 years of the programâ€™s history. During that time, the Aggies played in the Colorado Football Association (1893-1908), the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (1909-1937) and the Skyline Conference (1938-1957). The Aggies laid claim to five RMAC titles and one Skyline championship in that time.
The team will also be honoring former Rams tight end Keli McGregor on Saturday, who passed away this spring. McGregor was an All-American in his time with the Rams from 1982-84 and was employed with the Colorado Rockies as team president at the time of his death. His wife Lor, and their four children will be the honorary captains for Saturdayâ€™s coin toss.
In honoring the schoolâ€™s early heritage and one of the all-time great Rams, quarterback Pete Thomas expects the team â€“â€“Â and fans â€“â€“ will be ready to take down the Vandals.
â€œIâ€™ve heard a lot about our schoolâ€™s tradition,â€ quarterback Pete Thomas said. â€œItâ€™s also Keli McGregor day. Hopefully we can go out there and get a win.â€
Coach Fairchild hopes all of his players will understand a little more about the schoolâ€™s history come Saturday.
â€œThis is big and weâ€™ll make sure that our team understands that,â€ Fairchild said. â€œItâ€™s Ag day.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Joel Halfnor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org