It’s always interesting in Vandal athletics and 1936 was no different. To start, the record books are wrong. Both the Idaho and Utah State record books are wrong, in fact. Both schools show the 1936 contest between the Mighty Vandals and the blue Aggies as an Idaho home game. In fact, it was a Utah State home game, played at Ogden. Those familiar with the Aggies will know that Utah State is located in Logan, Utah and not Ogden, which is where Weber State is located.
Strange things happened in the old days. The game in Ogden was a big deal for the Aggies. Utah State, who was their conference champion was looking to avenge a 1932 loss to the Vandals. The Aggies would avenge that 33-0 beating with a 10-0 victory of their own. The game was expected to seat 14,000, a sellout. As I understand it, Utah State had abysmal facilities in the 1930’s which may explain why the game was played at Ogden.
There’s an interesting editorial in the Lewiston Tribune regarding the poor season. It really doesn’t offer any particular new insight, but does give a good idea of the feeling surrounding the team. Basically, “why can’t Idaho win”. The Vandals went 3-7 in 1936 and hadn’t beaten any conference opponent, save Montana, for several seasons.
Idaho would lose to neighboring WSU in what would be the two schools final meeting on MacLean Field. The stadium was too small and by 1937 Idaho would be playing in its newly constructed Neale Stadium. Because of the small capacity of MacLean Field, Neale Stadium was hastily being constructed on the west side of campus. In August the Regents approved the construction of Neale Stadium along with several other projects. In another tradition lost, the annual Battle of the Palouse was a huge deal for both schools. Both marching bands would play at half time, and extra bleachers were needed for seating.
Here are a few photos documenting the construction of Neale Stadium.