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

1971 Idaho Vandals football
Big Sky champion
ConferenceBig Sky Conference
1971 record8–3 (4–1 Big Sky)
Head coach
Offensive coordinatorBobby Thompson
(3rd season)
Defensive coordinatorRay Fulton (2nd season)
MVPRon Linehan (LB)[1]
  • Jack Goddard (WR)
  • Ron Linehan (LB)
Home stadiumIdaho Stadium
Bronco Stadium (Sep 11)
Joe Albi Stadium (Sep 25)
← 1970
1972 →
1971 Big Sky Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Idaho $ 4 1 0 8 3 0
No. 7 Boise State 4 2 0 10 2 0
Montana 3 2 0 6 5 0
Weber State 3 2 1 7 2 1
Idaho State 2 3 0 6 4 0
Northern Arizona 1 3 0 5 5 0
Montana State 0 5 1 2 7 1
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from College Division AP Poll

The 1971 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1971 NCAA University Division 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, it was the best record in school history.

Notable games

A third consecutive season opened without a home field, as the new Idaho Stadium was not quite finished and there was no suitable venue available on the Palouse.[2][3] After the wooden Neale Stadium (1937) was condemned in August 1969, the Vandals played their limited schedule of Palouse home games at the wooden Rogers Field at WSU in nearby Pullman in 1969 and 1970.[4] The primary (south) grandstand of Rogers burned in April 1970,[5] and was razed in 1971; in its footprint Martin Stadium was constructed and opened in September 1972.[6][7]

The Vandals' season opener was a stunning 14–42 upset loss at Boise State in the first meeting between the two teams, creating an instant rivalry game.[8][9] This was actually an Idaho "home game" moved south to Boise,[10] because the new stadium in Moscow was behind schedule and not completed.[11] Boise State had been a junior college program through 1967, moved up to NAIA in 1968 as an independent, and joined the NCAA "college division" (Division II) and Big Sky in 1970.[12] 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 on September 25 was played at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane,[13] The Vandals shut out the CSU Rams 10–0 to begin their eight-game winning streak;[14] the Rams' star running back was Lawrence McCutcheon,[13][15] who was selected for multiple Pro Bowls while with the Los Angeles Rams.

The new Idaho Stadium opened with a 40–3 Vandal victory over Idaho State on October 9.[16] The unlit outdoor concrete stadium in Moscow replaced Neale Stadium in the same footprint and continued with a natural grass surface. It was the first game played on campus in nearly three years, the last was a win on November 2, 1968. Artificial turf, 3M Tartan Turf, was installed in 1972,[17] and the facility was enclosed in 1975 to become the multi-purpose Kibbie Dome.

After four consecutive road victories,[18] 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.[19][20][21] 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.[22]

Division I

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.[23][24] That is why runner-up Boise State went to the Camellia Bowl in 1971,[25] and when the Division II playoffs arrived in 1973, the Vandals were again ineligible, as they were in Division I. (Idaho was a member of the conference primarily for basketball, in Division I.)

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 198595.

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, 200004.) The WAC dropped football after the 2012 season and Idaho athletics rejoined the Big Sky in 2013 for all sports except football, which was independent in 2013, rejoined the Sun Belt in 2014, and the Big Sky (FCS) in 2018.


September 117:00 pmBoise StateΔL 14–4216,123
September 1811:30 amat Iowa State*L 7–2425,000
September 257:30 pmColorado StateΔ*W 10–012,600
October 2at MontanaW 21–1212,000
October 91:30 pmIdaho StatedaggerW 40–314,200
October 162:00 pmat Pacific*W 13–1210,132
October 236:00 pmat West Texas State*W 26–0
October 306:30 pmat New Mexico State*W 19–14
November 612:30 pmat Weber StateW 24–20  8,404
November 1312:30 pmMontana State
  • Idaho Stadium
  • Moscow, Idaho
W 40–212,900
November 2012:30 pmUtah State*
  • Idaho Stadium
  • Moscow, Idaho
L 13–4215,100
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Δ Home game played off-campus (Boise, Spokane)
  • All times are in Pacific time


1971 Idaho Vandals football team roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Class
QB 10 Tom Ponciano Sr
QB 12 Bruce Cole So
QB 18 Rick Seefried So
RB 20 Fred Riley Sr
RB 22 Robert Williams Sr
FL 24 Jerry Hall Jr
WR 30 Alan Hall
RB 35 Bernie Rembert Jr
RB 36 Mike Clements
RB 38 Kim Giordano
RB 40 Randy Peterson
RB 43 Malcolm Smith Sr
RB 44 Frank Doctor
TE 45 Jim Wilund Sr
C 50 Ken Muhlbeier Jr
C 51 Dennis Feeney
C 59 Daryl Hanauer Jr
T 70 Richard Beaver Sr
OL 72 Larry Bosma Jr
G,T 73 Faustin Riley Sr
OL 74 Dave Crnich Jr
G 75 Rich Kushlan Sr
OL 76 Bob Van Duyne So
OL 77 Larry Warren Jr
G,T 78 Andy Kupp Sr
OL 79 Jerry Secrest
WR 80 Jay Curcio So
TE 82 Darrell Burchfield Jr
TE 84 Jim Welch So
WR 83 Kevin Ault Jr
WR 89 Jack Goddard (C) Sr
Pos. # Name Class
S 11 Bucky Bruns So
S, P 16 Steve Hunter Jr
S 23 Ross Nelson Fr
S 25 Randy Hall So
DB 26 Loren Dantzler
S 27 Pat Sprute Sr
CB 33 Rod Maynard Jr
S 34 Bob Miller Sr
CB 37 Kirby Cook
CB 42 Kelly Courage Jr
LB 52 John Bligh
LB 53 Rand Marquess Jr
LB 54 Fred Morschek So
LB 55 Lindsey Burgess
DL 56 Mark Busch Jr
LB 58 Ralph Sletager Jr
LB 61 Ron Linehan (C) Sr
DL 62 Steve Mabry
DT 65 Bill Cady Sr
DL 66 Rick Clute
NG 67 Steve Barker Sr
DL 68 Lloyd Gramsrud So
DL 69 Tom Aldershof
DT 71 Mike Newell Jr
DE 81 Tom Jarman Sr
DE 85 Rick Simmons
DE 86 Tom Doud So
DL 87 Alan Vance So
DL 88 Oscar Nelson
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
PK 7 Ricardo Castillo Sr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured
  • Redshirt


Six Vandals were named to the all-Big Sky team, two on offense and four on defense: halfback Fred Riley, guard Andy Kupp, defensive end Rick Simmons, noseguard Steve Barker, and linebackers Ron Linehan and Rand Marquess. The second team also had six Idaho players, with four on offense and two on defense: fullback Frank Doctor, wide receiver Jack Goddard, tackle Larry Bosma, center Ken Muhlbeier, defensive tackle Bill Cady, and defensive back Kelly Courage.[28][29]

Linehan's selection was his third consecutive, and he was also named the team's most valuable player.[1] Three weeks after the season ended, he received a gunshot wound to his left side;[30] he spent less than two days at Gritman hospital and was released.[31][32] His younger brothers were also starters for the Vandals: Rick was the strong safety in the late 1970s and Scott was the quarterback in the mid-1980s.

NFL Draft

Three Vandal seniors were selected in the 1972 NFL Draft, which lasted seventeen rounds (442 selections).

Player Position Round Overall Franchise
Fred Riley WR 6th 146 Atlanta Falcons
Andy Kupp G 10th 241 New Orleans Saints
Ron Linehan LB 17th 428 Pittsburgh Steelers

One junior was selected in the following year's draft in 1973, also seventeen rounds (442 selections).

Player Position Round Overall Franchise
Ken Muhlbeier C 16th 400 Denver Broncos

Two sophomores were selected in the 1974 NFL Draft, which lasted seventeen rounds (442 selections).

Player Position Round Overall Franchise
Bob Van Duyne G 10th 240 Baltimore Colts
Randy Hall DB 13th 317 Baltimore Colts


  1. ^ a b "Vandals pick Ron Linehan as most valuable player". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). December 10, 1971. p. 19.
  2. ^ "First two Vandal grid games shifted from Neale Stadium". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). July 10, 1971. p. 10.
  3. ^ "Idaho officials told stadium will be ready". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). August 27, 1971. p. 17.
  4. ^ Johnson, Bob (January 25, 1971). "Vandals coming home". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 17.
  5. ^ "Fast blaze ruins Pullman stadium". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). April 6, 1970. p. 1.
  6. ^ Missildine, Harry (October 1, 1972). "Utah beats Cougars 44-25". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1, sports.
  7. ^ Brown, Brunce (October 2, 1972). "Mistakes sink Cougars". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 21.
  8. ^ Bacharach, Sam A. (September 12, 1971). "Broncos kick Vandals". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 15.
  9. ^ Payne, Bob (September 12, 1971). "Boise stuns Idaho". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 1, sports.
  10. ^ a b "Idaho sets vet lineup for Boise". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. September 10, 1971. p. 20.
  11. ^ a b Bacharach, Sam A. (September 11, 1971). "Vandals shift home to Boise for opening game against Broncos tonight". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 15.
  12. ^ Payne, Bob (September 9, 1971). "Boise State's quick rise amazes North Idahoans". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 28.
  13. ^ a b Bacharach, Sam A. (September 25, 1971). "Idaho's third starting QB in 3 games to play Rams". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 12.
  14. ^ Bacharach, Sam A. (September 26, 1971). "Vandals blank Colorado State 10-0 for first grid victory of season". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 17.
  15. ^ "Offensive threat". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (photo). September 24, 1971. p. 15.
  16. ^ Payne, Bob (October 10, 1971). "Idaho likes home cookin'". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1, sports.
  17. ^ "King football makes move". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). August 10, 1972. p. 24.
  18. ^ Payne, Bob (November 9, 1971). "Those amazing, streaking Idaho Vandals: Did 'wild bunch' forget how to lose?". Spokesman Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 19.
  19. ^ Ferguson, George (November 19, 1971). "Vandals, Aggies clash in Moscow". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. E2.
  20. ^ Payne, Bob (November 21, 1971). "Aggies break off Idaho win streak". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1, sports.
  21. ^ Ferguson, George (November 22, 1971). "Great finish for Ags". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. D2.
  22. ^ "Great Idaho year has rough finish". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). November 22, 1971. p. 29.
  23. ^ "Ostyn says Pacific cost major status". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. August 9, 1967. p. 15.
  24. ^ "NCAA ups 4 colleges". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 2, 1969. p. 22.
  25. ^ "Boise St. trims Chico St., 32–28". Sunday Star-News. (Wilmington, North Carolina). UPI. December 12, 1971. p. 6C.
  26. ^ College Football Data Warehouse Archived 2010-02-16 at the Wayback Machine – Idaho 1970–74 – accessed 2010-05-15
  27. ^ "Bengals vs. Vandals: probable lineups". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). October 9, 1971. p. 12.
  28. ^ "Idaho lands six gridders on Big Sky all-star team". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 25, 1971. p. 31.
  29. ^ "Six Vandals are honored". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). November 25, 1971. p. 69.
  30. ^ "Lewiston man in Moscow jail after shooting". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 12, 1971. p. 5.
  31. ^ "Steven E. Oetken arraigned on shooting charge". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). December 14, 1971. p. 5.
  32. ^ "Guilty plea entered". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). December 15, 1971. p. 14.