In 1917 most of the news was rightfully dedicated to covering the war in Europe. However, on campus the Mighty Vandals would play football for one more season before taking a short hiatus in 1918.
The season began with a loss to Oregon State, which at that time, was Oregon Agricultural College. The final score was 26-6. The most interesting thing about the game was that it was played in Pendleton, Oregon. I’ve yet to uncover the reason for the location, but hopefully will find that out at some point. It appears that Idaho employed a creative offense, but was outweighed by the bigger OAC team.
The creative Vandal offense was on display again the following week against Oregon. In Eugene, Idaho outgained Oregon but couldn’t punch the ball across the goal line, falling 14-0.
The Idaho offense, although gaining many yards on the season, couldn’t muster a single point against Washington State in the annual Battle of the Palouse. The Vandals fell to WSC for the fourth consecutive year by the score of 19-0. Again, Idaho’s lighter squad played valiantly but was worn down by the larger opposition.
In something you would be unlikely to see in this day and age, Whitman was favored over Idaho. However, Idaho upset all the predictions and shut Whitman out, finally breaking out of its scoring slump and winning by the score of 16-0. The Chronicle ran a large photo of Idaho’s breakout star fullback Roy Thompson.
The final game of the season was a Thanksgiving Day affair against Montana. The Vandals traveled to Missoula and thumped the lowly Griz 14-3. Thompson was again the star for Idaho, which employed an aerial attack, throwing a surprising 21 forward passes.