The year 1922 was a respectable one all around for Idaho’s main sports. In their first year in the league the Vandals won the basketball championship in the Pacific Coast Conference and won the Northwest Conference as well.  As champions the Vandals were invited to participate in the first ever national basketball tournament in Indianapolis. The Vandals were eliminated in the first round against Kalamazoo College by the score of 38-31. In his first year as Vandal head coach, Robert Mathews led Idaho to a 3-5 record including wins over Utah and Montana.  At this time, Idaho was still playing in the Northwest Conference.  The season opened with a conference game at Walla Walla against Whitman College.  The season started off slowly with Idaho and Whitman playing to a first quarter tie.  The Vandals would score the only points of the game in the second quarter by way of a 21 yard field goal, kicked by fullback Bob Fitzke, whose participation was protested by Whitman for unknown reasons.  Fitzke went 1-3 kicking on the day and provided Idaho its first win of the season.

A page from the UW yearbook shows Idaho against Washington

A page from the UW yearbook shows Idaho against Washington

The second week of the season the major local news was the big game between Washington State and Gonzaga, which was the first game played in Gonzaga’s new stadium, and which was won by WSC.  Idaho, meanwhile, traveled to Seattle to face the Huskies and lose a close game 2-0. The annual clash with WSC would follow the next week, and as usual the game with big news.  The Spokane Daily Chronicle featured a photo of the Vandal squad (although it called the team the ‘huskies’).  In what was a fairly high scoring game, Idaho led 9-5 entering the fourth quarter but would fall by the final score of 18-9.  The following week, Idaho would travel to Eugene and lose another close game to the ducks by a score of 3-0.

1922 Game against WSC

1922 Game against WSC

A page from the UW yearbook shows Washington against Idaho

A page from the UW yearbook shows Washington against Idaho

For the annual game in Boise, special trains were, once again, scheduled to transport fans from North Idaho to the capital city.  The game was beginning to be a bit of a tradition.  It was the third year in a row that Idaho would play in Boise on Armistice Day and hold an alumni reunion.   Idaho would play Utah and would win 16-0.  Utah sent trains to Boise as well and expected a close game. The Deseret News published a very entertaining article recalling the ancient Vandals and their sack of Carthage when recapping the 1922 grid matchup. Idaho would make its last attempt at a coast conference victory against mighty USC the next week.  By all accounts Idaho was competitive despite being outweighed by the Trojans.  Idaho would fall by the final score of 14-0.  A big crowd of 10,000 people saw the Vandals put up a valiant effort.

MacLean Field 1922

MacLean Field 1922

A game of major local interest would follow with the Vandals travelling to Spokane to play Gonzaga.  8000 seats were expected to be sold for the game between the two local rivals. Idaho would send over 150 people to the game in the form of band members and yell leaders. Idaho would finally break into the Gonzaga end zone in the second quarter and take the lead 7-0. Idaho would hold the lead until halfway through the fourth quarter when Gonzaga took the lead 14-7 on a play in which Idaho protested the Zags were offside.  After a lengthy argument the officials upheld the touchdown and Idaho lost the game. Idaho’s season long frustrations would be taken out on the Griz in the final game of the season, winning 39-0.  Idaho fielded what was considered its strongest team in years only to go winless in the PCC losing several close games. 1922


About gomightyvandals

A sports fan interested in the history of Vandal Athletics
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