This Day In Sports: Idaho’s third and final Boise bowl victory

December 22, 2016: Idaho, less than two years away from a move back to the Big Sky, energizes its fan base with a 61-50 win over Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the third-highest scoring game in the history of bowl games. The first scoreless first quarter in the FIPB’s 20-year history belied what was about to happen. A record 111 points were scored the rest of the way on the frozen Blue. After CSU took a 7-0 lead on the second play of the second quarter, the Vandals proceeded to score touchdowns on nine—count ‘em, nine—consecutive possessions. The streak lasted from early in the second quarter until midway through the fourth.

Idaho built a 48-14 lead with 13 minutes left in the game before Colorado State staged a frenzied, unfathomable rally. But in the end, the Rams had just dug themselves too big a hole. The list of records in the game was lengthy. The 84 combined points scored in the second half were the most ever in a half in a bowl game. And CSU’s 36 points in the final stanza were the most by one team in a quarter in the history of bowl games.

The 1,206 yards of total offense (606 for Idaho and 600 for Colorado State) were the sixth-most in any Bowl, and it’s only the third time both teams have eclipsed 600 in a bowl. And the Rams’ Olabisi Johnson had 265 receiving yards, tied for the fourth-most in any bowl game in college football history. Johnson did it on only seven catches. That’s just under 38 yards per reception. We need to exhale.

For Idaho, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was vindication on so many levels. It was indeed a statement, nine months after being voted out of the Sun Belt. The Vandals won nine games for only the second time in their FBS era and scored 60 points in a game for the first time in over 20 years. They struck a note against a team from the Mountain West, a conference that had long shunned them.

It was by far the peak moment of coach Paul Petrino’s nine-season run at Idaho. The icy Gatorade bath had to feel good to Petrino, although it came with 2½ minutes left in the game. Petrino still had to stay out there for the trophy presentation. And Colorado State had two more touchdowns to go. Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan, the game’s unanimous MVP with 381 passing yards, had already delivered his: four TDs through the air and one on the ground.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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