Another year, another rivalry game between THE University of Idaho and Boise State University. This is a huge intrastate match-up that will allow the winner to have bragging rights for the next 360 some odd days. Considering there are a lot native Boise guys at both schools, this also brings another layer of competition to the game as these gentlemen will mostly likely be rubbing elbows come summer time.
Now that I’ve graduated, I hope to bring a little more objective preview of the match-up for you of the game that will be played this weekend up in Moscow, Idaho. While my loyalties are firmly placed on the side of the Vandals, I happen to be one of only two people who have played for both teams, in one year even. Not many people can say they helped the Broncos beat the Vandals in the Fall and then the Vandals beat the Broncos in the Spring.
Before we get to this year’s match-up, let’s take a look at the past games between UI and BSU. I’ll be honest, until recently, this was never much of a rivalry at all, it was more of just an easy dub for BSU to pad their stats with and a shellacking for Idaho.
In the past few years though, this has become a very competitive rivalry between the two schools, with home field advantage being crucial factor for both teams. Each team has spent the 5-6 hour drive home licking its wounds at least once.
In 2006, Boise State traveled up to Moscow and handed the Vandals a 14-7 loss. I couldn’t find any scores for the years before, but I feel it is safe to assume that they were similar to the ’06 score.
The next year though, in 2007, the Vandals traveled down to Boise for the match-up, while they were handed a decisive 18-10 loss, this was where the Vandals would start to turn things around.
First and foremost, this was the Vandals’ first year with a head coach (Ryan Hanavan). This head coach would help to discipline and train our guys to focus on becoming better athletes and begin working towards the program’s first victory a year later. This is also when we started becoming closer with our school and we would work to gain more and more support from them.
In the fall of 2007, Idaho traveled back down to Boise for the annual Gem State Tournament. Idaho and BSU met for the last game of the day and despite being a fall ball game, it ended up being quite a thriller, with BSU taking it 4-3 in overtime. Spring of 2008 would turn out to be just as good a game as the fall when the Broncos would travel up north to play the Vandals in Moscow.
The game would be an epic one in the Kibbie Dome with the Vandals coming out strong and after overcoming an initial deficit, never trailing again for the entirety of the game. The Vandals would get the last laugh in that game and held on to beat the Broncos for the very first time, 12-11.
Spring 2009 would be just the opposite.
While being a tight game through the scoreboard (5-4 at half, 9-8 after the third), BSU had the momentum on their side the entire game and it showed. BSU took this one 12-9 and let Idaho take the 6 hour car ride north to think about the game.
The summer was enough to get any Vandal involved in this game fired up and in the Fall of 2009 the Vandals traveled back down to Boise for the Gem State with a Vandal squad that wasn’t about to be looked over by anyone. Their first game of the tournament? Boise State, and they weren’t at all phased by it.
Idaho came out and after being down by one at half, they answered back, holding Boise State scoreless in the second half of the game and winning 10-5. Fall ball is fall ball, but it was still a statement and it was a nice for the Vandals to have a win after what happened the previous spring.
The Spring of 2010 would bring on another incredible match-up between two very hungry opponents.
The crowd came in full force; several hundred strong, even Idaho’s AD was there. Idaho came out strong and took 6-2 lead at one point, not about to let the same thing as last year happen again.
Not to be shut-up though, BSU came battling back into the game. As is the nature of a rivalry game, you can take a winless team and put them on the same field as a playoff contender and records don’t matter for anything. Boise State battled back into the game and took the Vandals to overtime, then won the ensuing face-off and scored a quick goal to take the Vandals down 9-8.
The following Fall would see the two teams face-off again in the Gem State tournament. Idaho took the game but it’s hard to judge either team by the score as BSU had split up into a Blue and Orange squad for the tournament. Moving on.
Spring 2011 would pit the Broncos and Vandals against each other twice in back to back weekends thanks to an end of the season match-up and a first round playoff battle for a trip to the Quarterfinals.
In the first match-up, a noisy and crowded home field for the Broncos, combined with a 4-2 3rd quarter would help ensure them a 13-11 victory. Boise State added a special touch to the rivalry and brought out part of the school’s band members to help get the crowd a little rowdy. Kevin Kaup led the Broncos that game with an outstanding performance in cage with 22 saves.
Knowing they would see them again in a week, the Vandals traveled back the 300 miles to Moscow to regroup and refocus for the first round of playoffs. The very next week, Idaho would make the long journey back down to Boise with a fire in their belly comparable to those of which in Mount Doom.
The Vandals were all business and doubled the Broncos score in the first half (4-2) and held them to one goal the entire second half, securing a trip to the Quarterfinals with an 11-3 victory over the Broncos. The performance was the greatest margin of victory for the Vandals over the Broncos and only added to the ever-growing rivalry between the two squads.
This year will be a very interesting game between the two squads. Despite sitting at 3-6, Boise State has already upset then top-25 ranked Simon Fraser in overtime earlier this season and at 3-7, Idaho is fighting just to make it through the season, battling injuries and a very young roster.
While the record (via MCLA.us) shows Boise State holding the lead at 5-2, it is much more telling to look at the record since 2008 as a sign of how competitive the games actually are today. BSU holds the slight edge with a 3-2 lead in the last five match-ups and outside of last Spring, each game has been decided by three goals or less (1, 1, 2, & 3).
If you are anywhere near Moscow, Idaho this Saturday you better be headed to the Sprintuf to check out this game. It should be another thrilling match-up between the two teams as Idaho’s Flagship University takes on the school named after a city that really isn’t a state (I had to say that!).