Idaho went into the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Colorado State looking to get its third bowl victory in school history. The Vandals may have entered the Thursday night matchup as 13-point underdogs, but it was all Idaho throughout the game.
The Rams got on the board first to take a 7-0 lead toward the end of the first quarter, but it would be the last points Colorado would score for a while. The Vandals responded with 20 unanswered points to head to the locker room with a 20-7 lead.
The rout continued in the second half, with Idaho scoring yet another three touchdowns in the third quarter to go up 41-7. Colorado State had no answer for the Vandals offense led by quarterback Matt Linehan, who finished with five touchdowns on the night. One of the most spectacular plays of the night came in the middle of the fourth quarter by wide receiver Jordan Frysinger.
The Vandals would go on to win 61-50. The score sounds close, but Idaho maintained control of the game throughout, despite giving up 20 points in the fourth quarter. Idaho scored 36 points in the fourth alone.
On the night, Idaho broke the bowl record for total yardage with 606, and the game itself was a new record for points with 111.
Idaho, which will move down to the FCS in 2018, has been a stranger to success. In the program’s 73 football seasons, the Vandals have seen just 12 winning seasons. Twelve. According to the television broadcast, it had been over a decade since they’d been on national TV.
Paul Petrino, who is in his fourth year as Idaho’s head coach, has led Idaho to an incredible year. Following a 4-8 season in 2015, the Vandals went 8-4 in this year’s regular season. The bowl win brings the Vandals’ win total to nine, which ties the school record for most wins in a season.
The Vandals have one last season in the FBS before moving down into the FCS’s Big Sky conference, where Idaho will be able to compete much more easily. Still, winning a game in which you were an underdog in such a dominant fashion is an impressive way to start the end of your FBS campaign.
Congrats to the Vandals, who get to celebrate their third bowl victory in program history on Thursday night.