EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from a very thorough pre-game primer posted by a long-time contributor to our forums, Bill Deobald, who provides our readers periodically with outstanding historical accounts of games, events, and situations involving the University of Idaho and Vandal athletics. We appreciate the opportunity to share part of this account on our front page.
To read his Bill's full thread on this subject, including his commentary and account of what was happening around the University of Idaho, WSU, Moscow and Pullman at the time, CLICK HERE.
Coinciding with the the start of the 1972 season, both the University of Idaho and Washington State University (located just 8 miles west of UI) were breaking in brand new stadiums, both of which had been burned down in previous years. For the game in Moscow, a crowd of 15,000 fans were on hand to get a first-look at the evolving New Idaho Stadium (a roof would be added two years later in 1974) and to cheer the Idaho team against its MAC foe.
Then, just like this week, Idaho opened the football season at home facing a solid Ohio squad.
Prior to the opener during fall camp, disaster struck when starting Vandal QB Rick Seefried (Spokane) suffered another knee injury. Seefried, who led the conference in passing and Idaho football to their best season ever in 1971, appeared to be lost for the season.
In addition to Seefried, three other projected starters had been lost for the season; defensive ends Rick Simmons and Tom Doud, and linebacker Ralph Sletager. Simmons signed a professional baseball contract, Doud had an arm injury and Sletager a broken leg. All three were part of the Wild Bunch defense from the previous season. Apparently Doud cut his arm on a glass window near the start of fall camp. We can only imagine how that happened. But Mike Newell was back to anchor the defensive front, backed by Rand Marquess at linebacker, and the ’71 secondary was intact headed by safeties Steve Hunter (Prosser) and Randy Hall, along with corners Rod Maynard, Kelly Courage and Bucky Bruns.
Offensively, Ken Muhlbeier (Pasco) was back at center, along with tackles Larry Warren and Larry Bosma, guards David Crnich and Larry Warren. All were seniors and I believe Muhlbeier was the only player drafted from this 1972 team, a 16th round pick by Denver. Bob VanDuyne was also in the mix at guard. VanDuyne and Randy Hall would reunite later as team mates with the Baltimore Colts. At the ends were seniors wide out Kevin Ault (Spokane) and TE Darrell Burchfield (Boise), and swift Kirk Dennis (Wendel) and speedy Collie Mack (Nevada) at flanker. The Vandals backfield included transfers Bernie Rembert (Florida, Spokane Falls CC), Jerry Hall (Warren, Ohio, Walla Walla CC), Mike Autrey (Columbia Basin CC) and Randy Ammerman (Prosser, Yakima Valley CC).
With Seefried out, the starting quarterback duties fell to Vandal sophomore Ross Goddard (Idaho Falls). Goddard’s backup was freshman Dave Comstock (Pocatello).
It turned out that the reports of Seefried’s demise had been greatly exaggerated. Knee surgery went well and Rick reported that he planned to be back by the fourth game of the season.
Indeed he was, against Washington State in October; Vandals #18 Seefried, #44 Bill Thurston, #76 Bob VanDuyne.
Ohio was coming to Moscow following a 26-21 win over Central Michigan, a game where Bobcat QB Rich Bevly passed for 232 yards and ran for 57 yards, and converted quarterback Dave Juenger caught two touchdown passes. The two former high school teammates were the players to stop for the Vandals, as Idaho Coach Don Robbins called Bevly “an exciting, dangerous runner.” I remember watching this Vandal football show with Robbins and Maker on KUID.
Even with artificial turf, field conditions came into play during a Vandal practice. As I recall, there is no crown on the field so the vacuum [a special system used to dry the field] was vital at the time. Vandal basketball's Wayne Anderson joined Dyer to promote his upcoming season at the Kiwanis luncheon. Anderson became the Vandal head basketball coach in 1966. His 1972-73 team would go 7-19. The following year would be his last on the bench.
Bob Johnson would get it wrong.
Jerry Kramer returned to the University of Idaho for the first time since he left for the Packers, and he raved about the new stadium. By the way, anyone know how long Jerry’s high school coach Cotton Barlow coached at Sandpoint? I’m pretty sure he was still there well into the ‘70’s, maybe longer.
So here are the starting lineups for your 1972 Idaho Vandals and the Ohio Bobcats:
It was a beautiful sunny day in Moscow, but the wind blew from the west at 20-25mph, with gusts to 35mph. The Idaho student section was primed.
The two teams played to a scoreless first quarter. Idaho took the first lead 7-0 in the second quarter on Mike Autrey’s one-yard run completing a 20-play, 82-yard drive; #34 Autrey, #12 Goddard, #77 Larry Warren.
Ohio answered with a Bevly to Cleve Moutry 55-yard pass for touchdown, Moutry just escaping Randy Hall’s finger tips as he lunged for the stop. The score at the half was 7-7.
In the third quarter, Steve Hunter had two interceptions; the first one was made in the end zone and stopped the Bobcats as they appeared to be on their way for points. Hunter, also the Vandal’s punter, finished the day with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. One of Hunter’s punts went 77 yards with the wind; #16 Hunter, #25 Randy Hall, #33 Rod Maynard, Ohio’s #16 Juenger.
Still in the third quarter, Ohio took their first lead of the game on an 11-yard pass from Bevly to tailback L.C. Lyons, score now 14-7 Bobcats as the quarter came to a close. Solid Vandal defense and the wind kept Ohio in check the rest of the way. Vandal linebacker #53 Rand Marguess made stops sideline to sideline and the wind held Ohio’s punter Gary Homer to punts of 23, 11 and 20 yards. One punt may have been partially blocked by Idaho’s Ron Lockett.
Ross Goddard was having a good enough day, and would finish 9 for 21 passing for 79 yards with one interception; #12 Goddard, #34 Autrey, #50 Muhlbeier, #74 Crnich, #67 Craig Pritchard.
Idaho was most productive on the ground though using four running backs. Rembert ran for 93, Jerry Hall for 70, Autrey for 35, and Ammerman for 56 yards. The Vandals enjoyed running to their left and Ohio got a whole lot a Bernie #35.
Given the Vandals good, wind-aided field position in the fourth quarter, Idaho tied the game up at 14 all with 7:30 to go on a Rembert 2-yard run. Then with the ball again, Idaho’s Steve Tanner kicked a 17-yard field goal for a 17-14 Vandal lead with 3:25 remaining.
Ohio started from their 20 yard line and moved the ball to the Vandal 46 yard line. Then Juenger fumbled a pass reception on a big hit by a Vandal linebacker. Idaho player of the day Steve Hunter jumped on the ball with 1:25 remaining. The Ohio coaching staff argued that Juenger didn’t have control of the pass when he was hit, but it was ruled a fumble, Idaho kept the ball and ran out the clock for the win.