1981 Idaho Vandals football team
|1981 Idaho Vandals football|
|Conference||Big Sky Conference|
|1981 record||3–8 (0–7 Big Sky)|
|Head coach||Jerry Davitch (4th year)|
|Offensive coordinator||Bill Tripp (4th year)|
|Defensive coordinator||Leland Kendall (2nd year)|
|Home stadium||Kibbie Dome|
|1981 Big Sky football standings|
|#2 Idaho State $^||6||–||1||–||0||12||–||1||–||0|
|#5 Boise State ^||6||–||1||–||0||10||–||3||–||0|
The 1981 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1981 NCAA Division I-AA football season. The Vandals, led by fourth-year head coach Jerry Davitch, were members of the Big Sky Conference and played their home games at the Kibbie Dome, an indoor facility on campus in Moscow, Idaho.
Led by sophomore quarterback Ken Hobart in the veer offense, the Vandals finished 3–8 in the regular season and 0–7 in the Big Sky to finish last. Idaho lost to rival Boise State for the fifth straight year, but it was the Broncos' last win over Idaho until 1994, as the Vandals won a dozen straight in the interim.
After a fifth straight loss and no wins in six conference games, Davitch was fired nine days before the final game against Boise State. Several weeks later Dennis Erickson was hired and immediately turned the Vandal program around in 1982, reaching the quarterfinals of the 12-team Division I-AA playoffs.
In 1981, Idaho State and Boise State were the top two teams in the Big Sky and both advanced to the 8-team Division I-AA playoffs and won their first round games. Boise State was stopped at home in the semifinals by Eastern Kentucky, whom Idaho State defeated the following week in Texas to win the national title.
Sophomore quarterback Ken Hobart changed from an option quarterback in the veer to a prolific passer under Erickson. He led the Vandals to a 9-4 record in 1982 and an 8-3 record in 1983 as a senior, when he was a Division I-AA All-American. Hobart played a season in the USFL with Jacksonville in 1984 and several in the CFL.
At the close of the 1981 spring semester, Vandal wide receiver Joe Keogh, age 20, was killed in a mid-morning automobile accident. En route to Seattle on Saturday, May 16, he was one of four occupants in a vehicle westbound on Interstate 90, west of Ellensburg. The driver, a family friend, lost control and veered off the road and the car ended on its side. Keogh, a 1979 graduate of Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, was the only fatality. Keogh's Vandal teammates wore his number 4 on the right side of their helmets during the 1981 season. It was the second death for the football team in less than ten months: standout senior running back Glen White, age 22, had died in August 1980 after a brief battle with aplastic anemia.
|Sep 05||7:30 p.m.||Simon Fraser - (NAIA)*||Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID||W 52–7||10,500|
|Sep 12||6:30 p.m.||at Weber State||Wildcat Stadium • Ogden, UT||L 21–42||15,900|
|Sep 19||7:30 p.m.||Northern Iowa*||Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID||W 59–14||12,000|
|Sep 26||10:30 p.m.||at Hawaii - (Div. I-A)*||Aloha Stadium • Honolulu, HI||L 6–21||43,719|
|Oct 03||7:00 p.m.||at Portland State - (Div. II)*||Civic Stadium • Portland, OR||W 56–9||3,000|
|Oct 10||7:30 p.m.||Montana||Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID - (Little Brown Stein)||L 14–16||11,000|
|Oct 17||1:00 p.m.||at Montana State||Reno H. Sales Stadium • Bozeman, MT||L 28–29||10,017|
|Oct 24||1:30 p.m.||Nevada-Reno||Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID||L 14–23||14,000|
|Oct 31||7:30 p.m.||Idaho State||Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID||L 14–24||10,500|
|Nov 07||6:30 p.m.||at Northern Arizona||Walkup Skydome • Flagstaff, AZ||L 3–24||10,500|
|Nov 21||7:30 p.m.||Boise State||Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID - (BSU-UI rivalry)||L 43–45||14,000-|
|*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Pacific Time.|
- "Football signings". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). February 22, 1979. p. 5B.
- "Car accident kills UI football player". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). May 17, 1981. p. 3C.
- "13 are killed on highways". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). May 18, 1981. p. 1.
- Emerson, Paul (October 27, 1981). "An instinct for the ball". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
- "'96 Vandals will sport new look". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). April 28, 1996. p. 6B.
- "UI running back dies". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). August 10, 1980. p. 2B.
- Lewiston Morning Tribune - 1981 opening game starters - 1981-09-05 - p. 5B
- Gem of the Mountains: 1982 University of Idaho yearbook - 1981 football season
- College Football Data Warehouse – Idaho Vandals (1980–84)