'98 Bowl Champions Reunite For Spring Game

Ten years ago, the '98 Vandals became the first football team from the state of Idaho to win a Division 1A bowl, downing Southern Miss 42-35 in a thrilling, come-from-behind Humanitarian Bowl victory. This Friday, in conjunction with the annual Silver and Gold Spring Game (7pm), join the '98 Vandals as they celebrate their 10-year reunion at 5pm in the North Concourse (tickets available).

Later this fall, former Big West Defensive Player of the Year CHRIS NOFOAIGA and the entire 1998 University of Idaho Vandal football team will be inducted into the Vandal Sports Hall of Fame. The celebration gets an early start - about five months early - as the team prepares for a ten-year reunion celebration THIS Friday afternoon at 5pm PST before the Silver and Gold Spring Game. Tickets for the reunion are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased through the Idaho ticket office.

As always, the annual Silver and Gold Spring Game at 7pm is FREE to the public.

As a freshman led Idaho to H-Bowl victory with four TD passes, and was named Game MVP. Ranks 4th single season completions (62.9%), 6th single-season yards (3,171), and 4th career yards (7,401).

Ranks 7th single-season average rushing yards per game (108.6).

Three-time First Team All-Big West selection, drafted in the 7th Round of NFL draft by Indianapolis Colts.

A First Team All-Big West selection, was drafted in the 7th Round of NFL draft by Carolina Panthers.
With pre- and post-game functions planned for Friday (see below), the annual Silver and Gold Spring Game will be attended by members of Idaho's 1998 Humanitarian Bowl Championship team, returning to the Idaho campus for a 10-year reunion of their momentous victory over Southern Miss. In just Idaho's third year as a member of Division 1A back in 1998, that Idaho team 10-years ago was exceptional and well-balanced, boasting a speedy defense that excelled at pressuring quarterbacks, led by middle linebacker Ryan Skinner (First Team Big West, team's leading tackler), outside linebacker Chris Nofoaiga (ranks 3rd all-time with 62 career tackles for loss), and defensive tackle Mao Tosi (6-6, 280) who would go on to play in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals.

Offensively, the team was led by freshman quarterback John Welsh (his name is peppered throughout the Idaho record books), legendary runningback Joel Thomas, and included future NFL offensive lineman Rick DeMulling (there was not one senior on the starting line in '98, but DeMulling would go on to become a 7th round NFL draft pick), Idaho native runningback Willie Alderson, and 7th round NFL draft selection tightend Mike Roberg.

The team was loaded and overcame enormous odds - including starting three different quarterbacks throughout the season - to win the Big West Conference Championship and defeat the Southern Miss Eagles. Despite going into the Bowl Game as 16-point underdogs, the Vandals finished victorious to cap off a 9-3 season and a 4-1 Big West Conference record.

Below are links to the stories that chronicled Idaho's bowl victory:

LINK: Vandalized

LINK: Vandals Seize The Moment

LINK: USA Today Recap

Make your plans now to attend all the festivities planned for THIS FRIDAY for the annual Silver and Gold Spring Game, including pre- and post-functions.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Schedule of Events

5:00 p.m. – Vandal Silver & Gold Rally
Location: Kibbie North Concourse
Join President Timothy P. White, Athletic Director Rob Spear and Alumni Director Steve Johnson for pregame food and fun!

Open to the general public. Please purchase tickets by calling (208) 885-6466

»» 7:00 p.m. – Silver & Gold Scrimmage
Location: ASUI Kibbie Dome

»» Post-game celebration
Location: University Inn Best Western Catch up with friends and fellow alumni after the game!

Open to the general public. No cost.

For more information please contact Andrea Niehenke at (208) 885-0259.

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