Remember Idaho, the football team that couldn’t win on the road, couldn’t win in an outdoor stadium and was in danger of its first losing season since 1981?
That team disbanded on Saturday. In its place, an angry group of Vandals showed up at Bronco Stadium and gave Boise State the beating of a lifetime.
Midway through the third quarter of UI’s 64-19 runaway, most of the 22,323 in attendance had departed, except thousands of giddy Vandals fans. It had the same eery feeling as 1992 when the Vandals plundered BSU 62-16 in then-Broncos coach Skip Hall’s sendoff.
This pleased UI second-year coach Chris Tormey, whose club was 0-5 away from the Kibbie Dome this year and had lost 12 in a row outdoors (not all, obviously, under Tormey’s watch).
“It was a really sweet win. We got a lot of monkeys off our backs,” said Tormey, who concluded his second straight 6-5 season. Idaho has won two straight and 14 of 15 against the rival Broncos.
Nearly every statistic favored Idaho, but most telling in the lopsided outcome was UI’s dominance on both lines. Idaho’s offensive front paved the way for Joel Thomas’ 273 rushing yards - third-best single game in school history - and 365 ground yards overall. Thomas had four touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Fien pitched in 155 passing yards and three touchdowns.
UI’s defense trampled BSU’s line, made up of three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior. BSU quarterback Tony Hilde was in a self-preservation mode from the start, fleeing UI’s relentless pass rush. His only damage: two oh-by-the-way touchdowns after the score was 64-6.
“I’ve had three great wins in my career,” senior offensive lineman Dan Zeamer said. “Beating Utah on the road, beating Nevada at home and winning tonight. Those are the three greatest moments of my life. So far.”
BSU, which finished with its worst record as a four-year school at 2-10, gave up points in nearly every way imaginable - a safety, run TDs, pass TDs and a fake punt. , “It was a debacle,” Broncos defensive end Chris Wing said. “A lot of things went wrong, but that’s kind of been the story of the season.”
This debacle didn’t take long to form. BSU surrendered a safety when tight end Jim Brekke was whistled for a holding penalty in the end zone 6 minutes into the first quarter.
Roughly 3:30 later, Thomas cruised through a hole on the right side and scored from 29 yards out. Three minutes later, Thomas plowed in from the 1. On and on it went. Tight end Andy Gilroy scored on a clever inside reverse on third-and-2 - the first time Idaho had used the play all season - and Idaho led 22-0. Fien fired an 8-yard strike to David Griffin, which narrowly eluded BSU’s Jimmy Clark in the right flat - and it was 29-0.
Before the game, the newspaper here asked readers to send in predictions. The guy who jokingly picked Idaho 99-0 wasn’t looking too bad at this point. BSU scored with 59 seconds left in the first half, but Idaho answered immediately. Tom Pace returned the kickoff 72 yards to deliver what Tormey called, “the backbreaker.” Robert Scott soared to snag an 18-yard TD pass.
Idaho tacked on three touchdowns in the first 5:11 of the third quarter for a 57-6 cushion, one of the scores coming when Thomas scooted 47 yards on a fake punt. Thomas’ 90-yard TD run signalled the end of Idaho’s onslaught late in the third quarter.
“I had a good feeling about the game,” Tormey said. “I thought we would win the game, but 64 points … no imagination could take me that far.”
Thomas’ imagination was similarly pushed to the limit.
“I don’t think I ever imagined a day like this,” Thomas said. “I’m going to get a copy it (the game tape) and put it away.”
Cancer-stricken BSU coach Pokey Allen returned to the sidelines last week for a thrilling win over New Mexico State that gave Bronco followers a huge boost. But he had no encore.
“The Pokey Allen aura didn’t really last that long, maybe a minute and 30 seconds,” Allen said. “I had bad dreams like this all week. We got off to a bad start and it just snowballed on us.”
Idaho 64, Boise St. 19
Idaho 16 20 28 0 64 Boise St. 0 6 0 13 - 19
UI-Safety, holding penalty in end zone
UI-Thomas 29 run (Scott kick)
UI-Thomas 1 run (Scott kick)
UI-Gilroy 2 run (kick failed)
UI-Griffin 8 pass from Fien (Scott kick)
BSUJohnson 28 pass from Hilde (pass failed)
UI-R.Scott 8 pass from Fien (Scott kick)
UI-Pace 13 run (Scott kick)
UI-Thomas 47 run (Scott kick)
UI-Price 5 pass from Fien (Scott kick)
UI-Thomas 90 run (Scott kick)
BSU-Hilde 17 run (Belcastro kick)
BSU-Hilde 1 run (pass failed)
UI BSU First downs 24 15 Rushes-yards 50-365 41-231 Passing 155 96 Comp-Att-Int 12-24-1 11-22-1 Return Yards 26 7 Punts-Avg. 5-44.0 6-34.0 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 5-4 Penalties-Yards 15-145 7-61 Time of Possession 32:01 27:59
RUSHING-Idaho, Thomas 25-273, Pace 12-55, Scott 1-23, Gamelin 1-11, Fien 4-5, Gilroy 1-2, Prestimonic 1-0, Griffin 1-(-1), Brennan 1-(-1), Thomas 3-(-2). Boise St., Hilde 15-84, Tatum 4-47, Tia 8-47, Ethridge 10-0, Maylathong 2-0, Chan 1-0, Mamaril 1-0.
PASSING-Idaho, Fien 12-24-1-155. Boise St., Hilde 11-22-1-96.
RECEIVING-Idaho, Scott 3-42, Griffin 2-19, Pace 2-29, Gamelin 1-7, Gilroy 1-10, Price 1-5, Wilson 1-12, Thomas 1-31. Boise St., Brekke 3-29, Mamaril 3-17, Johnson 1-28, Ikebe 2-7, Horace 1-11, Ethridge 1-4.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo