1980 Boise State Broncos football team

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1980 Boise State Broncos football
National Champions (Div. I-AA)
Big Sky Champions
Conference Big Sky Conference
Coaches No. 1
1980 record 10–3 (6–1 Big Sky)
Head coach Jim Criner
Offensive coordinator Gene Dahlquist
Defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich
Home stadium Bronco Stadium
« 1979 1981 »
1980 Big Sky football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#7 Boise State $ 6 1 0     10 3 0
Idaho 4 3 0     6 5 0
Nevada 4 3 0     6 4 1
Idaho State 4 4 0     6 5 0
Weber State 4 4 0     4 7 0
Montana State 3 4 0     4 6 0
Northern Arizona 3 4 0     5 6 0
Montana 1 6 0     3 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • Boise State earned automatic berth in NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship. Idaho State and Weber State met twice in league play with each game counting as a half game.
Rankings from NCAA Division I-AA poll (released before championship playoffs)

The 1980 Boise State Broncos football team represented Boise State University in the 1980 NCAA Division I-AA football season. The Broncos competed in the Big Sky Conference and played their home games at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho. The Broncos were led by fifth-year head coach Jim Criner. The 1980 "Four Horseman" senior backfield of BSU featured quarterback Joe Aliotti, fullback David Hughes, and halfback Cedric Minter, with halfback Terry Zahner in reserve.

The Broncos finished the regular season at 8–3 and 6–1 in conference to win their fifth Big Sky title in 11 seasons, their first since 1976. BSU defeated their two Division I-A opponents, but lost a road contest in November to Cal Poly-SLO, the 1980 Division II national champions. The Broncos easily defeated rival Idaho for the fourth consecutive year in mid-October in Boise. During halftime of the Nevada-Reno game on November 8, BSU dedicated the playing field at Bronco Stadium to athletic director and former head coach Lyle Smith.[1]

The Broncos were invited to the four-team I-AA playoffs. As Big Sky champions with a substantial stadium and fan base, BSU was chosen to host in the first round, a national semifinal on December 13, three weeks after the completion of the regular season. The opponent was Grambling State, coached by legend Eddie Robinson. The Broncos won 14–9 and advanced to the I-AA national championship game the following week at Sacramento, California, against defending champion Eastern Kentucky, coached by Roy Kidd. In a back-and-forth contest played in the fog at Hughes Stadium, Boise State won 31–29 to win their only I-AA national title.

The Broncos returned to the I-AA title game in 1994, then moved up to Division I-A in 1996.


Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
Sep 6 at Utah (Div. I-A)* Rice StadiumSalt Lake City, UT W 28–7   27,231
Sep 13 SE Louisiana* Bronco StadiumBoise, ID L 13–17   21,342
Sep 20 at Northern Arizona Walkup SkydomeFlagstaff, AZ W 20–18   10,787
Sep 27 at Montana State Reno H. Sales StadiumBozeman, MT L 17–18   9,121
Oct 4 Montana Bronco Stadium • Boise, ID W 44–10   20,453
Oct 11 Idaho Bronco Stadium • Boise, ID (BSU-UI rivalry) W 44–21   21,812
Oct 18 Cal State Fullerton (Div. I-A)* Bronco Stadium • Boise, ID W 26–11   17,052
Oct 25 Weber State Bronco Stadium • Boise, ID W 24–0   18,455
Nov 8 Nevada Bronco Stadium • Boise, ID W 14–3   20,682
Nov 15 at Cal Poly (Div. II)* Mustang StadiumSan Luis Obispo, CA L 20–23   8,330
Nov 22 at Idaho State ISU MiniDomePocatello, ID W 22–13   13,865
Dec 13 Grambling State* Bronco Stadium • Boise, ID (Division I-AA Semifinal) W 14–9   17,300
Dec 20 vs. Eastern Kentucky* Hughes StadiumSacramento, CA (Division I-AA Championship Game
Camellia Bowl - ABC-TV)
W 31–29   8,157
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming.


  1. ^ BSU Game Day program - 1980-11-08 - p.8