1971 Idaho Vandals football team
|1971 Idaho Vandals football|
|Conference||Big Sky Conference|
|1971 record||8-3 (4-1 Big Sky)|
|Head coach||Don Robbins|
|Offensive coordinator||Bob Thompson|
|Defensive coordinator||Ray Fulton|
|Home stadium||new Idaho Stadium
Bronco Stadium - Sep 11
Joe Albi Stadium - Sep 25
The 1971 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1971 college football season. The Vandals, led by second-year head coach Don Robbins, were members of the Big Sky Conference and played the final three of their five home games at the new Idaho Stadium, an outdoor facility on campus in Moscow, Idaho.
The Vandals won their first outright conference title in 1971, which included an eight-game winning streak after opening with two losses. Idaho finished 8-3 in the regular season and 4-1 in the Big Sky. At the time, the season was the best in school history.
The Vandals opened the season with a stunning 14-42 upset loss at Boise State in the first meeting between the two teams, creating an instant rivalry game. This was actually an Idaho "home game" moved to Boise, because the new stadium in Moscow was not completed. Boise State had been a junior college program through 1967; they moved up to NAIA in 1968 as an independent, and joined the NCAA "college division" (Division II) and Big Sky in 1970. Idaho had played a home game every season in Boise in the old wooden Bronco Stadium through 1968; this ended when Boise State joined the Big Sky.
The Colorado State game was played at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane on September 25, as the new Idaho Stadium was not quite finished and there was no suitable stadium available on the Palouse. After Idaho's wooden Neale Stadium was condemned before the 1969 season, the Vandals played their limited schedule of Palouse home games at the wooden Rogers Field at WSU in nearby Pullman in 1969 and 1970. Rogers Field was razed in 1971 and in its footprint Martin Stadium was constructed; the new facility opened in September 1972. The Vandals shut out the CSU Rams 10-0 to begin their eight-game winning streak. The Rams' star running back was Lawrence McCutcheon, who later played with the Los Angeles Rams.
The new Idaho Stadium opened with a 40-3 Vandal victory over Idaho State on October 9th. The outdoor concrete stadium in Moscow replaced Neale Stadium in the same footprint and had a natural grass surface. Artificial turf was installed in 1972, and the facility was enclosed in 1975 to become the multi-purpose Kibbie Dome.
After four consecutive road victories, the Vandals finished the 1971 season at home with a 40-2 victory over Montana State to wrap up the Big Sky title, and a disappointing 13-42 non-conference loss to Utah State in the finale. Boise State finished at 10-2 with a postseason win, but its two losses were in league play and finished second in the Big Sky at 4-2.
Although a charter member of a conference whose other members were "college division" (Division II) for football, Idaho maintained its status as a "university division" (Division I) program with the NCAA by playing only "university division" opponents in its non-conference schedule. When the Division II playoffs arrived in 1973, the Vandals were ineligible, as they were in Division I. (Idaho was a member of the conference primarily for basketball.)
The Big Sky moved up to the new Division I-AA In 1978, and Idaho was forced to move down. In 18 seasons in I-AA, the Vandals reached the post-season playoffs 11 times, missing only once in the final 11 seasons of 1985-95.
Idaho returned to Division I-A in 1996 with a move to the Big West, and then to the WAC in 2005. (The Big West dropped football after 2000; Idaho was a "football only" member of the Sun Belt for four seasons, 2001-04.)
|Sep 11||Boise State 1||Bronco Stadium • Boise, ID - (BSU-UI rivalry)||L 14-42||16,123|
|Sep 18||at Iowa State*||Clyde Williams Field • Ames, IA||L 7-24||25,000|
|Sep 25||Colorado State 1*||Joe Albi Stadium • Spokane, WA||W 10-0||12,600|
|Oct 02||at Montana||Dornblaser Field • Missoula, MT - (Little Brown Stein)||W 21-12||12,000|
|Oct 09||Idaho State||new Idaho Stadium • Moscow, ID - (stadium opener)||W 40-3||14,200|
|Oct 16||at Pacific*||Pacific Memorial Stadium • Stockton, CA||W 13-12|
|Oct 23||at West Texas State*||Buffalo Bowl • Canyon, TX||W 26-0|
|Oct 30||at New Mexico State*||old Aggie Memorial Stadium • Las Cruces, NM||W 19-14|
|Nov 06||at Weber State||Stewart Stadium • Ogden, UT||W 24-20||8,404|
|Nov 13||Montana State||new Idaho Stadium • Moscow, ID||W 40-2||12,900|
|Nov 20||Utah State*||new Idaho Stadium • Moscow, ID||L 13-42||15,100|
|*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game.|
1 "home game" played off-campus (Boise, Spokane)
Three Vandal seniors were selected in the 1972 NFL Draft, which lasted seventeen rounds (442 selections).
|Fred Riley||WR||6th||146||Atlanta Falcons|
|Andy Kupp||G||10th||241||New Orleans Saints|
|Ron Linehan||LB||17th||428||Pittsburgh Steelers|
One Vandal junior was selected in the following year's draft in 1973, also seventeen rounds (442 selections).
|Ken Muhlbeier||C||16th||400||Denver Broncos|
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - First two Vandal grid games shifted from Neale Stadium - 1971-07-10 - p.10
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - Idaho officials told stadium will be ready - 1971-08-27 - p.17
- Spokane Daily Chronicle - Vandals coming home - 1971-01-25 - p.17
- Spokane Daily Chronicle - King football makes move - 1972-08-10 - p.24
- Spokesman Review - Those amazing, streaking Idaho Vandals: Did 'wild bunch' forget how to lose? - 1971-11-09 - p.19
- Spokane Daily Chronicle - Great Idaho year has rough finish - 1971-11-22 - p.29
- Spokesman-Review - Ostyn says Pacific cost major status - Associated Press - 1967-08-09 - p.15
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - NCAA ups 4 colleges - Associated Press - 1969-07-02 - p.22
- College Football Data Warehouse - Idaho 1970-74 - accessed 2010-05-15
- Gem of the Mountains: 1972 University of Idaho yearbook - Idaho State at Idaho - October 9, 1971
- Gem of the Mountains: 1972 University of Idaho yearbook - Montana State and Utah State home games