The History of the Boise State/Idaho State Rivalry

In the fall of 1968, Boise College began the Era of four year collegiate sports. Prior to 1968, Boise College played in the junior college ranks as a 2 year school. In 1968, Boise College joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) and played as an independent in all sports. Boise State played an all NAIA schedule in 1968 except for Weber State on the road and Idaho State at Bronco Stadium.

The 1968 Game

Idaho State's Athletic Director explained the scheduling of Boise State to the Idaho State supporters this way: "I want to schedule Boise State while we can still beat them"! He was obviously referring to Boise Junior College outstanding winning percentage of 85% over the last 20 years. Well, it didn't work.

Idaho State came into Bronco Stadium as the heavy favorites with All-American quarterback candidate Jerry Dunn and All-American wide receiver candidate Ed "The Flea" Bell providing ISU with the core of ISU's best offense in their history. It was Homecoming for the Broncos and the Bronco Stadium was sold out with most fans coming to watch Jerry Dunne and "The Flea"!

Dunne and Bell put on quite a show for the Bronco and Bengal fans out gaining the Broncos 579 to 331 in total offense, but the Broncos prevailed on the scoreboard 27 to 20 due to the timely turnovers created by the Bronco defense. For a detailed game summary, check out the report here:

The 1971 Game

Boise State's first full Big Sky schedule started with Idaho and ended with Idaho State. After beating conference favorite Idaho 42 to 14 in their season opener, all Boise State had to do to clinch the Big Sky Conference championship was to beat Idaho State. Idaho State had never beaten Boise State in their first 3 attempts. Idaho had beaten Idaho State 40 to 3 earlier in the year. The Conference Championship seemed to be "in the bag", but Idaho State kept Boise State from their first Big Sky Championship by beating the Broncos 21 to 17.

Although the Broncos did not win the Big Sky Conference, they were still chosen to represent the Big Sky in the Camellia Bowl, where they bested Chico State 32 to 28.

The 1981 Game

After the Broncos won the 1980 Division 1AA National Championship, they approached the 1981 season with the prospects of playing without their "Four Horsemen". Fans wondered if they still had the talent to win back-to-back National Championships?

While Boise State was busy on their way to a National Championship in 1980, Idaho State was trying to win back respect after setting a school record of 18 consecutive losses. They hired a new coach, Dave Kragthorpe that returned them to a winning team in his first year. The Bengals finish with a 6-5 record in 1980, but there is a very interesting side note for their 1980 season. They played Weber State twice in one season. It seems that Weber State and Idaho State both had only 10 games scheduled and their open date was on the same day, so they decided to play a home and home series. To make things even stranger, the Big Sky conference decided to count each game as a half of a win/loss. Weber State won the first game 17 to 14 in Ogden. Idaho State won the second game 46 to 5 in Pocatello. In the official Big Sky Standings in 1980, Idaho State had a 3.5 win and 3.5 loss record.

The Bengals and Broncos opened up their Big Sky Conference season in Boise with the Broncos holding a 12 to 1 over all record against the Bengals and on a 9 game win streak over the Bengals. The Bengals came into Boise and won the game 21 to 10 and won the Big Sky Conference Championship too. The Broncos and Bengals both finished the conference with 6 and 1 records, but the Bengals won the tie-breaker with the win over the Broncos.

The Bengals went on the win the Division 1A National Championship with a 34 to 23 victory over Eastern Kentucky, the same team that the Broncos had beat a year earlier for their National Championship. If the Broncos had pulled out a victory a week earlier over Eastern Kentucky, the National Championship game with have been an all-Idaho event.

The 1986 Game

The Bengals Ambushed the Broncos 25 to 6 in Pocatello for their only Big Sky Conference Win of the 1986 season giving Boise State their first losing season as a four year school and also contributing to the loss of Head Coach Lyle Setencich's job .

The 1992 Game

The infamous "Globe of Death" that allowed Idaho State to score on almost the last play of the game in 1993 and contributing to the loss of Head Coach Skip Hall's job. After the ISU kickoff return man caught the ball, the whole ISU team ran to him and then proceeded to run away in different direction pretending each player had the ball. ISU did not score on the return, but it put them in striking distance for one pass to the end zone that won the game for them.

The 1993 and 1994 Games

Pokey Allen started his head coaching job at Boise State in 1993 and proceeded to lose all of his Big Sky Conference games except for the lone victory over Idaho State 34 to 27.

In 1994, on their way to a Big Sky Conference Championship and a berth in the D1A National Championship game, Pokey Allen won all of his Big Sky Conference games except for the lone loss to Idaho State 32 to 31.


Although, the Broncos lead the series 22 to 6, the Bengals wins have come at very critical times. The Bengals are not a team to be overlooked. For the complete record of the Boise State and Idaho State Game history, visit this website:

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