MOSCOW, Idaho — THIS DAY IN SPORTS… Sept. 15, 1973, 50 years ago today:
One of those early-season games between Boise State and Idaho—early in the Bronco-Vandal rivalry. The game was played in New Idaho Stadium, the place that would get a roof and become the Kibbie Dome two years later. The Vandals, who had beaten UTEP the week before 62-14, marched through the visitor’s locker room before the game taunting the startled Broncos. Boise State responded on the field with a 47-24 win behind quarterbacks Ron Autele and Jim McMillan.
It was only the third game in the history of a football rivalry that would last 40 years. The locker room stunt became part of Broncos-Vandals lore, like Boise State’s onside kick and ensuing field goal after taking a 41-14 lead over Idaho in the Kibbie Dome in 1977, and Joe Vandal’s relentless pestering of Buster Bronco the following year—until Broncos wrestling coach Mike Young changed into Buster’s costume at halftime and, let’s say, altered the narrative of that battle.
The 1973 tilt was Boise State’s season opener, and the victory told the Broncos they could be pretty good following a disappointing 7-4 record the year before. They went on to win their first Big Sky championship, with the only losses of the regular season coming in non-conference play on the road, 24-19 at UNLV and 23-21 at Nevada (in a controversial finish). It was the first year the NCAA had created divisions and instituted playoffs at the non-Division I levels. Boise State made the first Division II playoff field and beat South Dakota 53-10 in Bronco Stadium before falling 38-34 to Louisiana Tech in the semifinals in Wichita Falls, TX.
As for New Idaho Stadium, that was the facility constructed in 1971 after old Neale Stadium on the U of I campus burned down in 1969. It wasn’t completed in time for the 1971 season opener—the first football game ever played between Boise State and Idaho. That contest was moved to Bronco Stadium, with the Vandals serving as the home team in a 42-14 win by the “visitors.” The Kibbie Dome roof came about thanks to a donation from William Kibbie and contributions from student fees. It was dedicated in an October, 1975, game against Boise State that resulted in a 31-31 tie.
Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.
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