BOZEMAN — The year was 1978.
You were probably wearing flared trousers or a zippered jumpsuit, the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack echoing in your ears.
At Montana State, a coach named Sonny Lubick rolled into town to take over the football program with the hope of continuing the tradition set in place by a legend (Sonny Holland) whose name now adorns the south end zone expansion at Bobcat Stadium.
And Lubick started out on the right track by opening that ’78 season with seven consecutive victories.
So much has happened since then. Your teenager now wears your bell-bottoms to school during homecoming week. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack is buried under a pile of old records.
And your jumpsuit? Let’s just forget about that.
In 1978, Rob Ash was still two years away from taking his first head coaching job at Juniata College in Pennsylvania. That’s how long it’s been.
But all these years later, now that his Bobcats are 3-0 after a 43-35 win over Stephen F. Austin, the perfect start to the 2012 season feels like a watershed moment.
“It’s really good. We’re excited about that,” Ash said afterward. “Every win is important as you look towards the ultimate goal of getting in the playoffs and getting seeding and getting home games … all those things.
“Every single game is important and every win is important, and that’s why being 3-0 is really exciting for us.
“I’m very, very proud of my team. This was a big win. They guys had to play very hard, and we made the plays when it counted. This is a great day for Bobcat football. It really is.”
Ash mentioned how good it felt to finally sit down after what was a marathon of big plays and points. And the emotions for the Bobcats were as unsettled as the ever-changing numbers on the scoreboard.
But once again, the Bobcats faced adversity and came away on top.
We saw it last week when the team traveled to play Ash’s old program (Drake) in Des Moines, Iowa. MSU players and coaches admitted to their struggles. Fans bemoaned the slow start and criticized their performance.
When SFA’s Cordell Roberson hauled in a 75-yard touchdown pass from Brady Attaway with just over six minutes remaining, the Bobcats were on the wrong end late again. That’s when their guile kicked in.
Two short-yard touchdowns by Cody Kirk, a game-changing interception by Steven Bethley and a confidence-boosting 45-yard field goal by Rory Perez ensued. And 3-0 never felt so good.
It surely hasn’t been perfect and it hasn’t always been pretty. But these games will make the Bobcats tougher and more mature as the season goes forward. And that’s just what they want as Big Sky Conference foe Northern Colorado gets set to visit Bobcat Stadium for the league opener.
“All we talked about in the locker room is that Big Sky Conference play starts next week,” Ash said. “That’s huge for us.
“We have a clock in the locker room that’s counting down towards the first day of Big Sky Conference play. It’s seven days off right now, so that’s really what we’re focusing on.”
4-0? Stay tuned.