Idaho Vandals

Idaho Vandals will open 2017 football season with two home games

Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan, who helped lead the Vandals to a win over Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in December, returns in 2017 for his senior year.
Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan, who helped lead the Vandals to a win over Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in December, returns in 2017 for his senior year. Statesman file photo

The Idaho football team will play six games in the Kibbie Dome in 2017, including consecutive home games against Sacramento State (Thursday, Aug. 31) and UNLV (Saturday, Sept. 9) to open the season.

The remaining home games include Louisiana (Oct. 7), Appalachian State (Oct. 14), Louisiana-Monroe (Oct. 28) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 18). All those games are on Saturdays.

“I’m very excited to have six home games next year. We have our first two games at home, which is very exciting,’’ coach Paul Petrino said in a released statement.

Idaho has never played Coastal Carolina, and Appalachian State finished 10-3 in its first season in the Sun Belt last year.

“We get to have one of the best teams in the conference (Appalachian State) come to our place,” Petrino said. “We get to play another one of the best teams in the conference — Troy, on a Thursday night on ESPNU. That’s very exciting.”

The highlight of the six road games is a trip to Missouri of the SEC on Oct. 21. Missouri leads the series 2-0, but the teams haven’t played since 1963. Idaho is receiving a $1.3 million payout to play at Missouri.

Other road games are against 2016 Group of Five champion Western Michigan (Sept. 16), South Alabama (Sept. 23), Troy (Thursday, Nov. 2), New Mexico State (Nov. 25) and Georgia State (Dec. 2).

Idaho, which won the 2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, will play five teams that appeared in bowl games last season: Western Michigan (L), Appalachian State (W), Louisiana (L), Troy (W) and South Alabama (L).

All but Sacramento State, UNLV, Western Michigan and Missouri are Sun Belt games.

Homecoming is Oct. 7 and Dad’s Weekend is Oct. 28.

Game times have not been announced.

The Vandals begin preparation for the season when spring ball opens March 24. The annual Silver and Gold game is April 28 at 6 p.m.

This is their final season in the Football Bowl Subdivision, after being voted out of the Sun Belt in 2016. Idaho will begin play in the Big Sky Conference (Football Championship Subdivision) starting with the 2018 season.

Mike Prater: 208-377-6421, @MikeFPrater

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