1985 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

1985 Idaho Vandals football
University of Idaho Vandals logo.svg
Big Sky champion
Conference Big Sky Conference
1985 record 9–3 (6–1 Big Sky)
Head coach Dennis Erickson (4th year)
Offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson (2nd year)
Defensive coordinator John L. Smith (4th year)
Home stadium Kibbie Dome
« 1984 1986 »
1985 Big Sky football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#5 Idaho $^ 6 1 0     9 3 0
#2 Nevada ^ 6 1 0     11 2 0
Boise State 5 2 0     7 4 0
Weber State 4 3 0     6 5 0
Idaho State 3 4 0     5 6 0
Montana 2 5 0     3 8 0
Northern Arizona 1 6 0     3 8 0
Montana State 1 6 0     2 9 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – Division I-AA playoff participant
  • Idaho earned automatic berth and
    Nevada earned at-large berth in I-AA playoffs.
Rankings from NCAA Division I-AA poll
(released before playoffs)

The 1985 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1985 NCAA Division I-AA football season. The Vandals, led by fourth-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.

The Vandals won their first outright conference title since 1971 (the 1982 team tied for the title, but lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to Montana). Led first by redshirt junior quarterback Scott Linehan and then by senior Rick Sloan,[1][2][3] Idaho finished the regular season at 9–2 and 6–1 in the Big Sky.[4][5]

The 1985 season marked the first time in school history that the Vandals had four consecutive winning seasons in football.[6]

Notable games[edit]

The Vandals opened the season with a 15-point loss at Oregon State in Corvallis, whom they had defeated the year before in Moscow.[7] After six straight losses to Nevada-Reno, Idaho recorded its first conference victory over the Wolf Pack,[8] who joined the Big Sky in 1979. The Vandals defeated rival Boise State for the fourth consecutive year,[4] the fourth of twelve straight over the Broncos. A key one-point road loss at Idaho State in late October prevented the Vandals from attaining an important first round bye in the I-AA playoffs.

Division I-AA playoffs[edit]

After a two-season absence, Idaho returned to the 12-team I-AA playoffs, hosting independent Eastern Washington, whom they had defeated four weeks earlier by three touchdowns.[5][9] The Eagles won the rematch, a back-and-forth contest before a sparse crowd at the Kibbie Dome, two days after Thanksgiving.[10] (EWU joined the Big Sky in 1987, raising league membership to nine institutions.)

For the following season in 1986, the I-AA playoffs expanded from 12 to 16 teams, which eliminated the bye week for the top four seeds.

Notable players[edit]

The 1985 team included two future NFL head coaches: quarterback Scott Linehan and offensive lineman Tom Cable. Future NFL players with lengthy pro careers included guard Mark Schlereth (redshirt freshman) and true freshman John Friesz, a future collegiate hall of fame quarterback as a three-year starter (198789), but inactive in 1985 as a redshirt.


This was the fourth and final season at Idaho for head coach Dennis Erickson and defensive coordinator John L. Smith. Offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson returned to that position after three spring seasons in the USFL with the L.A. Express. Following Erickson's departure for Wyoming in December,[11] Gilbertson was promoted to head coach for 1986.[12] Smith followed Erickson to Laramie and back to the Palouse at Washington State in 1987, then returned to the Vandals in January 1989. He succeeded Gilbertson,[13] who left after three seasons for an assistant's position in Seattle, as offensive line coach under head coach Don James at Washington.


Date Time Opponent Site Result Attendance
Sep 07 6:00 pm at Oregon State - (Div. I-A)* Parker StadiumCorvallis, OR L 28–43   26,154
Sep 14 7:00 pm Mankato State - (Div. II)* Kibbie DomeMoscow, ID W 46–7   9,500
Sep 21 6:30 pm at Northern Arizona Walkup SkydomeFlagstaff, AZ W 27–3   11,885
Sep 28 1:00 pm Nevada-Renodagger Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID W 25–21   15,600
Oct 05 6:00 pm at Portland State - (Div. II)* Civic StadiumPortland, OR W 51–17   6,286
Oct 12 6:00 pm at Weber State Wildcat StadiumOgden, UT W 31–28    
Oct 19 7:00 pm Montana Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID - (Little Brown Stein) W 38–0   11,300
Oct 26 6:30 pm at Idaho State ISU MiniDomePocatello, ID L 37–38   11,422
Nov 02 7:00 pm Eastern Washington* Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID W 42–21   15,500
Nov 09 12:00 pm at Montana State Reno H. Sales StadiumBozeman, MT W 34–0    
Nov 23 1:00 pm Boise State Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID (BSU-UI rivalry) W 44–27   15,800
Nov 30 3:00 pm Eastern Washington* Kibbie Dome • Moscow, ID (Div. I-AA playoffs) L 38–42   6,500
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Pacific Time.



  1. ^ Boling, Dave (October 19, 1985). "More broken bones today in Moscow?". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. B1. 
  2. ^ Boling, Dave (November 14, 1985). "Poetic justice? Sloan takes over". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1. 
  3. ^ Boling, Dave (November 23, 1985). "Erickson: 'It's our biggest game ever'". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C4. 
  4. ^ a b Barrows, Bob (November 24, 1985). "Idaho reigns as Big Sky Conference champs". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. C1. 
  5. ^ a b Boling, Dave (November 23, 1985). "Beginning could be the end in playoff rematch". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1. 
  6. ^ College Football Data Warehouse - Idaho Vandals - yearly totals - accessed 2011-10-02
  7. ^ Cawood, Neil (September 8, 1985). "Beavers do Vandalizing this time". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). p. 1B. 
  8. ^ Barrows, Bob (September 29, 1985). "Idaho rallies back to trap Wolf Pack, 25-21". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B. 
  9. ^ Barrows, Bob (November 30, 1985). "Idaho begins 'second season' today looking for a repeat". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 6B. 
  10. ^ "Idaho ousted in Division I-AA". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 1, 1985. p. 7C. 
  11. ^ Boling, Dave (December 2, 1985). "Erickson leaves Idaho for Wyoming". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. C1. 
  12. ^ Boling, Dave (December 6, 1985). "Idaho passes the football to Gilbertson". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. C1. 
  13. ^ Meehan, Jim (January 3, 1989). "Smith: no newcomer to UI football". Idahonian. Moscow. p. 7A. 
  14. ^ College Football Data Warehouse - Idaho 1985-89 - accessed 2010-05-14

External links[edit]