Work in Sports
The Rams want to build on last year's late success by using a not-so-secret weapon
By Elizabeth Newman
"Great teams always have something they can pull out of their back pocket when they get down," says Lubick. "I had no idea what our surprise was going to be."
But by midseason Davis was creeping out opposing defenders with the way he slithered down the field on punt returns. In Week 8, in a key game against Mountain West rival Utah, he became the first player in school history to return two punts for touchdowns in a game. He was no slouch as a wideout either, hauling in 51 passes for 665 yards. For Lubick it came just in time. After losing its first two league games, Colorado State won its last five regular-season games to earn a berth in the Liberty Bowl against Southern Miss.
A year later it's time for Lubick to put the pieces of another puzzle together. Newton, despite a slow start, threw for 2,369 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, and will have the luxury of playing behind four returning starters on a line that allowed just 10 sacks all year. Workhorse running back Kevin McDougal is gone, so sophomore Rahsaan Sanders and junior Duan Ruff will split time in the backfield.
The defense lost key players to the NFL but will get a huge boost from the return of linebacker Rick Crowell, a punishing pass rusher who was granted an extra year of eligibility after tearing his left rotator cuff near the start of last season.
Lubick and Co. will be tested early with nonconference games against Colorado and Arizona State, but the Rams should have enough talent to remain atop the MWC for a second straight year. Even if Lubick doesn't have any more tricks up his sleeve.
Issue date: August 14, 2000