|1976 Idaho Vandals football|
|Conference||Big Sky Conference|
|1976 record||7–4 (5–1 Big Sky)|
|Offensive coordinator||John McMahon (1st season)|
|Defensive coordinator||Andy Christoff (3rd season)|
|Home stadium||Kibbie Dome|
|1976 Big Sky Conference football standings|
|No. 1 Montana State $^||6||–||0||–||0||12||–||1||–||0|
Rankings from NCAA Division II AP Poll
The 1976 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1976 NCAA Division I football season. The Vandals were led by third-year head coach Ed Troxel and were members of the Big Sky Conference, then in Division II. They played their home games at the Kibbie Dome, an indoor facility on campus in Moscow, Idaho.
With quarterbacks Rocky Tuttle and Craig Juntunen running the veer offense, the Vandals were 7–4 overall and 5–1 in the Big Sky. The only conference loss was to Montana State in Bozeman; the Bobcats went undefeated in the Big Sky and won the Division II national championship.
The season opened with a road win over Boise State, the three-time defending conference champions, in the debut of Jim Criner as head coach of the Broncos. Originally scheduled for November 27, it was moved to the opener at BSU's request, so as not to interfere with the Division II playoffs. In the Battle of the Palouse, the Vandals suffered a ninth straight loss to neighbor Washington State of the Pac-8, falling 45–6 at Martin Stadium in Pullman on October 2. The Cougars were led by quarterback Jack Thompson and fullback Dan Doornink.
Outside of the 1971 season (8–3), the Vandals' 7–4 record in 1976 was the best since 1938 (6–3–1). It was Troxel's only winning season as head coach; Idaho slipped to 3–8 in 1977 and he was fired in late December.
Center John Yarno of Spokane was selected to the AP All-American team, which included a prime-time appearance on Bob Hope's Christmas show on NBC on Monday, December 13. The All-America team was headlined by Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett of Pittsburgh. Yarno was also selected to play in the East–West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. His number 56 was retired the following year. Selected in the fourth round of the 1977 NFL Draft, he played six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, the last five as a starter.
Future actor Bill Fagerbakke of Rupert was a sophomore defensive lineman and was ticketed to redshirt, but was called into action in the fourth game. Head coach Troxel planned on moving him to the offensive line in 1977, but a knee injury in spring drills ended Fagerbakke's athletic career, which turned his focus to theater.
Through 1977, the Big Sky was a Division II conference for football, except for Division I member Idaho, which moved down to I-AA in 1978. Idaho maintained its upper division status in the NCAA by playing Division I non-conference opponents (and was ineligible for the Division II postseason).
|Sep 11||6:30 pm||at Boise State||W 16–9||20,549|
|Sep 18||7:30 pm||at Pacific*||W 31–28||11,769|
|Sep 25||11:30 am||at Ohio*||L 0–35||13,710|
|Oct 02||1:30 pm||at Washington State*||L 6–45||20,000|
|Oct 09||8:00 pm||New Mexico State*||W 33–6||10,166|
|Oct 16||8:00 pm||Weber State||W 45–17||15,607|
|Oct 23||12:30 pm||at Montana State||L 14–29||5,400|
|Oct 30||7:00 pm||at Idaho State||W 6–3||9,625|
|Nov 06||12:00 pm||at Colorado State*||L 14–31||17,535|
|Nov 13||8:00 pm||Montana||W 28–19||9,396|
|Nov 20||8:00 pm||Northern Arizona||W 31–14||7,160|
|1976 Idaho Vandals football team roster|
Senior center John Yarno was the Big Sky offensive player of the year and one of six Vandals selected to the all-conference team. The other three on offense were running back Robert Brooks, guard Clarence Hough, and tackle Wil Overgaard. The two defensive players were linebacker Kjel Kiilsgaard and end Chris Tormey, a future Vandal head coach (1995–99). Second team selections were tackle Greg Kittrell, noseguard Tim Sanford, and linebacker John Kirtland.
One Vandal was selected in the 1977 NFL Draft, which lasted twelve rounds (335 selections).
|John Yarno||Center||4th||87||Seattle Seahawks|