1982 Idaho Vandals football team

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Coordinates: 46°43′34″N 117°01′05″W / 46.726°N 117.018°W / 46.726; -117.018

1982 Idaho Vandals football
University of Idaho Vandals logo.svg
Conference Big Sky Conference
1982 record 9–4 (5–2 Big Sky)
Head coach Dennis Erickson (1st year)
Offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson (1st year)
Defensive coordinator John L. Smith (1st year)
Home stadium Kibbie Dome
« 1981 1983 »
1982 Big Sky football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#19 Montana $^ 5 2 0     6 6 0
#11 Idaho ^ 5 2 0     9 4 0
Montana State 5 2 0     6 5 0
#15 Boise State 4 3 0     8 3 0
Nevada 3 4 0     6 5 0
Northern Arizona 3 4 0     4 7 0
Weber State 2 5 0     4 7 0
Idaho State 1 6 0     3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – Division I-AA playoff participant
  • Montana earned automatic berth and Idaho earned at-large berth in I-AA playoffs.
Rankings from NCAA Division I-AA poll
(released before championship playoffs)

The 1982 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1982 NCAA Division I-AA football season. The Vandals, led by first-year head coach Dennis Erickson, 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 junior quarterback Ken Hobart, the Vandals finished 8–3 in the regular season and 5–2 in the Big Sky in a three-way tie for first, and qualified for the post-season for the first time in school history. Idaho defeated rival Boise State for the first time in six years,[1][2] the first of twelve straight over the Broncos. The Vandals also defeated Idaho State, the defending conference and national champions; the consecutive intrastate games were both on the road.[3][4]

Idaho rebounded from the previous season, in which they were preseason favorites, but finished 3–8 overall and winless in conference play under fourth-year head coach Jerry Davitch. The 1981 team lost their final six games, finishing with a fifth consecutive loss to Boise State.

The Vandals won all six home games in 1982 and finished at 9–4 overall. The nine victories were the most in school history,[5] later surpassed only by the 1988 and 1993 teams, both of which won 11 games and reached the I-AA semifinals.[6]

Division I-AA playoffs[edit]

After recent Big Sky domination by Boise State, Idaho State, and Nevada, the 1982 season finished with three other teams at the top at 5–2; Idaho, Montana, and Montana State. After Idaho finished the regular season with a conference loss at Reno,[7] Montana was declared the conference champion as it defeated the other two. (Montana State was the odd team out, as the Bobcats lost to both Montana and Idaho.) Montana and Idaho were both selected for the first time to participate in the Division I-AA playoffs, newly expanded to 12 teams for the fifth season of I-AA.

Although the Grizzlies (6–5, 5–2) were the conference champions due to their 40–16 win over Idaho in Missoula in mid-October,[8] the Vandals were chosen by the NCAA to host the late November game, primarily due to their indoor stadium.[9][10] Idaho won the rematch 21–7, played before a sparse afternoon crowd in Moscow two days after Thanksgiving, and advanced to the quarterfinals on the road against eventual champion Eastern Kentucky.[11] EKU was a I-AA finalist the previous three seasons; they won the title in 1979, but lost to Big Sky champions Boise State in 1980 and Idaho State in 1981. Down by a large margin early, Idaho mounted a comeback and nearly became the third team from the state to defeat EKU in the playoffs in as many years. The Vandals were well into EKU territory with 31 seconds remaining, but came up 8 points short after a controversial interception.[12][13]

Notable players[edit]

Linebacker Sam Merriman from Tucson[14] was selected in the seventh round (177th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. A four-year starter for the Vandals, he played five seasons with Seattle, primarily on special teams.[15][16][17] A serious knee injury in a 1988 preseason game ended his playing career.[18][19][20] Junior quarterback Ken Hobart led the Vandals to an 8–3 record as a senior in 1983, then played a season in the USFL with Jacksonville in 1984 and several in the CFL.[21]


The 1982 season was the first as a collegiate head coach for Dennis Erickson, age 35, who was previously the offensive coordinator at San Jose State under Jack Elway. Both of Erickson's coordinators for the 1982 Vandals were future head coaches at Idaho and other programs. Keith Gilbertson left after the 1982 season for Los Angeles of the new USFL, returned to Idaho in 1985, and was promoted after the season when Erickson left for Wyoming. Defensive coordinator John L. Smith followed Erickson to Wyoming in 1986 and Washington State in 1987. Smith returned to the Vandals in January 1989 to succeed Gilbertson, who had left a month before to coach the offensive line for the Washington Huskies under Don James. Erickson left WSU for Miami in early March.


Date Time Opponent Site Result Attendance
Sep 11 6:30 pm Washington State* Joe Albi StadiumSpokane, WA (Battle of the Palouse) L 14–34   25,321
Sep 18 7:30 pm Pacific* Kibbie DomeMoscow, ID W 36–17   10,500
Sep 25 7:30 pm Portland State* Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID W 56–0   11,000
Oct 02 1:30 pm Weber Statedagger Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID W 35–34   15,000
Oct 09 11:30 am at Northern Iowa* UNI-DomeCedar Falls, IA W 38–13   11,438
Oct 16 1:00 pm at Montana Dornblaser FieldMissoula, MT (Little Brown Stein) L 16–40   11,033
Oct 23 7:30 pm Montana State Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID W 36–20   13,000
Oct 30 6:00 pm at Boise State Bronco StadiumBoise, ID (BSU-UI rivalry) W 24–17   21,415
Nov 06 6:30 pm at Idaho State ISU MiniDomePocatello, ID W 20–17   11,010
Nov 13 7:30 pm Northern Arizona Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID W 55–37   13,000
Nov 20 1:00 pm at Nevada Mackay StadiumReno, NV L 16–25     7,333
Nov 27 1:30 pm Montana Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID (I-AA playoffs - 1st round) W 21–7     8,000
Dec 04 5:00 pm at Eastern Kentucky* Hanger FieldRichmond, KY (I-AA quarterfinals) L 30–38   10,893
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Pacific Time.

NFL Draft[edit]

One Vandal senior was selected in the 1983 NFL Draft, which lasted twelve rounds (335 selections).

Player Position Round Overall
Sam Merriman LB 7th 177 Seattle Seahawks


  1. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (October 30, 1982). "Vandals' destiny lies in outcome of BSU game". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 3B. 
  2. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (October 31, 1982). "Vandals end drought with 24–17 win over BSU". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B. 
  3. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (November 6, 1982). "Vandals: Idaho championship can be theirs today". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 3B. 
  4. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (November 7, 1982). "Idaho escapes with 20-17 win over Bengals". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C. 
  5. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (December 12, 1982). "Dennis Erickson put Idaho on the road to success - and he plans more". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B. 
  6. ^ CFB Data Warehouse - Idaho - yearly totals
  7. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (November 21, 1982). "Wolf Pack bumps off Idaho, 25-16". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B. 
  8. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (October 17, 1982). "Idaho goes dull, loses at Montana". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 1C. 
  9. ^ Missildine, Harry (November 27, 1982). "Vandals and Grizzlies deserve each other". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 19. 
  10. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (November 27, 1982). "Both Idaho and Montana want a shot at No. 1". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. C1. 
  11. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (November 28, 1982). "Case for the defense: Idaho 21-7". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. B1. 
  12. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (December 5, 1982). "Controversial EKU interception ends Idaho hopes". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B. 
  13. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (December 6, 1982). "An unsavory end to a successful season". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B. 
  14. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (November 27, 1982). "Lucky Sam Merriman". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C. 
  15. ^ "Sam Merriman". Database Football. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  16. ^ Weaver, Dan (July 18, 1984). "Low in the draft, high on the team". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 15. 
  17. ^ Jacobson, Bryan (December 20, 1986). "Like riding a bike". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 25. 
  18. ^ "Seahawks lose Merriman for year". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. August 13, 1988. p. B1. 
  19. ^ Pierce, Oliver (September 14, 1988). "Merriman isn't merry on sidelines". Idahonian. Moscow. p. 9A. 
  20. ^ "Seahawks cut Merriman, two others". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. April 18, 1989. p. C3. 
  21. ^ Wright, Josh (October 6, 2009). "Ken Hobart - A family man now". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 

External links[edit]