Much like many other teams from around the country, the Vandals played games against military teams during World War II.  In 1942 Idaho played, and lost to, the 2nd Air Force Bombers by the score of 14-0.

1942 Idaho Vandals Image courtesy of tomandrodna.com

My understanding is that these military teams were comprised of enlisted men from all over the country, many of whom had left their university teams in order to serve.  Point being, that these were not little-league games.  In fact the 2nd Air Force Superbombers went 11-0-1 in 1942 including wins over Idaho and Eastern Washington.  The Superbombers even played Washington State to a 6-6 tie.

What is interesting about Idaho’s game with the 2nd Air Force is that it was played under the lights.  The 2nd Air Force apparently played their games at Gonzaga Stadium in Spokane .  Gonzaga Stadium had lights installed in the 1930’s to allow night games.  The night game in 1942 was a rarity for the Vandals.  To prepare, the Vandals practiced long enough into the night that lights were required at the practice field.  They also practiced with white and yellow footballs.

In Utah the Vandals took on the Utes in front of 11,000 fans on Thanksgiving.  The two teams did not disappoint, playing to a 13-7 victory for Utah.  The game between Utah and Idaho was usually played on Thanksgiving or Armistice Day.

Idaho’s big game with Washington State was decided by the officials.  In a close game, WSU prevailed by a score of 7-0 after a touchdown scoring lateral pass by the Vandals was ruled illegal and called back.

In 1943, Idaho, along with most of the other PCC teams would quit football for the duration of the War.

Gonzaga Stadium, 1922 (image courtesy of http://www.gonzaga.edu)

Gonzaga Stadium, 1922 (image courtesy of http://www.gonzaga.edu)


About gomightyvandals

A sports fan interested in the history of Vandal Athletics
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