aunte hen Idaho began its football campaign. the spirits of the coaches and players were high. especially Head Coach 11ennis Erickson's. But then the injuries hit. The Vandals lost four key defensive players and two offensive players before their first game. Scott Katz. Frank Moreno. Tom Hennessey. Mike Johnston and Steve Jackson all fell early in the season to serious injuries - all of which required surgery. Faced with an unneeded burden. Erickson had to move people to different positions and start with less experienced players. Another pers6n who found himself in a new position was sophomore Scott Linehan. Linehan was expected to fill the shoes of former quaterback Ken Hobart who had moved from the Idaho program to the professional football ranks.
Scott Unehan ( 10) displays the form that earned hlm the startlni quarterback lob for the Vandals. (Photo by M . Klmberllng)
So with Linehan at the helm. the Vandals opened their season against the Portland State Vikings. Idaho. who had never lost to a PSU team. fired past the Vikings 49- I 4. " It was good to get that first game under our belt." Erickson said after the game. " I was pleased in how we executed on both sides of the ball." So with a game under its belt. and a I -o record to its name. Idaho traveled to southern California to do battle against the Division I Cal-State Fullerton Titans. "Personally I feel they are the best team we have played since I've been here... Erickson said before the game. Erickson's words held true as the Vandals were whipped by the Titans 28-7 in temperatures ranging around I 00 degrees in Santa Ana. Calif. The Fullerton game hurt more than the Vandals' pride as Linehan was injured in the
Sprinting up the sldellnes. Eric Yarber (I) moves upfleld. Yarber's speed and a giJJty made him an asset to the Vandals all s eas on long. (Photo by D. Gllbertson)
game and had to to be replaced by back-ups Dare) Tracy and Rick Sloan. Eric Yarber. who had been leading the team in receptions. was also injured. Again. Erickson was faced by the evil that haunted all football coaches. injuries. Coming home to open the Big Sky Conference season was not a pleasant thing for Erickson and troops as the Montana State Bobcats brought their own air-show to the Dome. MSU had everything to gain as they came off a I- I 0 record in I 98 3. and returned with several starters to their lineup. With Sloan replacing Linehan at OB. Idaho led throughout the game. But when the fourth quarter arrived. Idaho saw its 2 1-10 lead slip and ultimately lost the battle 28-34. With their record falling to I-2. the Vandals were again faced with a big challenge. when the Pacific Athletic
Conference Oregon State Beavers invaded the Dome. Still plagued by injuries. the Vandals soundly thumped the Beavers 42-2 I. jue to an outstanding defen;ive effort. '"fhey just played great. .. Erickson said. With Linehan returning to the starting lineup. the Vandals t raveled to Reno to play the University of NevadaReno Wolfpack. But even with Linehan back the Vandal offense stuttered and UNR outlasted Idaho 23-17. "We just needed two or three minutes more and we would have had this one." Linehan said. Now 0-2 in BSC play. the Vandals returned home to play the Weber State Widcats for Idaho's homecoming game. In front of 13.700 Ul fans. the Wildcats pulled out a 40-37 win over the Vandals. The game also marked the end of kicker Tim McMonigle's record setting