Boise State Football

Final: Boise State’s bowl game canceled because of lightning

Boise State reacts to the cancellation of the First Responder Bowl

Head coach Bryan Harsin and quarterback Brett Rypien spoke to the media at a press conference on Wednesday, December 26 about the cancellation of the First Responder Bowl.
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Head coach Bryan Harsin and quarterback Brett Rypien spoke to the media at a press conference on Wednesday, December 26 about the cancellation of the First Responder Bowl.

The Boise State football team’s 2018 season ended with a cancellation of the First Responder Bowl on Wednesday afternoon in Dallas.

The game was delayed for 1 hour, 21 minutes because of lightning before game officials canceled it. Boston College was leading 7-0 with 5:08 left in the first quarter.

A large storm swept through the Dallas area — as had been forecast for several days — and wasn’t expected to relent for hours. Thunder shook the building where the postgame press conference was held.

The game officially goes down as a no contest.

“It sucks,” said Boise State senior quarterback Brett Rypien, whose career ended waiting out a storm. “That’s the only way you can put it. You fly all the way down here and unfortunately the weather wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t safe enough to play. I’ll be able to go out and enjoy a meal with my family tonight and hopefully others will too, but unfortunately for the fans who flew down here, that sucks.”

[Related: Disappointment, confusion as Boise State’s season ends; Lack of backup plan sinks First Responder Bowl; BC dominated early and fans will get refunds]

Brant Ringler, executive director of the First Responder Bowl, said he decided to cancel the game after a meeting that included both coaches, both athletic directors and representatives from the ACC, Mountain West and ESPN, as well as stadium operations personnel who had the latest weather info. There was “complete agreement,” he said.

“If you look at the weather report for the next three, four hours, it looks like a storm larger than the one we just delayed the game for,” Ringler said. “The lightning strikes were not just random but throughout the entire storm and they were coming straight at us.”

Said Boston College coach Steve Addazio: “We were all deeply disappointed, OK? Deeply disappointed. ... Tough decisions have to be made and they have to be made in the big picture of things, and the most important big picture here is player welfare, player safety. ... I completely respect the decision that was made here, as hard as it was for everybody.”

Boise State will provide refunds to fans who bought bowl tickets from the school, a spokesman said Wednesday evening (tickets were $75 or $100). Boise State had about 2,000 tickets out for the game, Athletic Director Curt Apsey said. Boise State fans appeared to make up more than half of the 8,000 to 10,000 fans who attended the game.

Boston College Athletic Director Martin Jarmond announced on Twitter that Eagles fans would receive a refund and receive one free ticket per bowl ticket to a home athletic event of their choice in the next 12 months.

The First Responder Bowl initially said all sales were final but later announced on Twitter that ticket holders can get a full refund or free tickets to next year’s game, with two additional tickets per order.

Rain continued to pour down and thunder was heard consistently two hours after the First Responder Bowl was cancelled in Dallas.

The game’s cancellation won’t have a financial impact on Boise State or the Mountain West, said Stuart Buchanan, director of strategic communications for the conference. However, that was before the school announced plans to refund ticket purchases.

“We were concerned about the players’ safety, not just from the weather, but the warmup, the cool down, playing and not playing, and waiting in the locker room,” Apsey said. “It was pretty clear at the end of the day the decision that needed to be made.”

This is the first Division I bowl game canceled, according to the NCAA’s record book. Hawaii had a charity game canceled in 1941 because of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Boston College head coach Steve Addazio, Executive Director of the First Responder Bowl Brant Ringler and Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey address the cancellation and what happens next for the teams and fans.

The First Responder Bowl featuring Boise State and Boston College was suspended because of lightning with 5:08 left in the first quarter. Boston College led 7-0 and Boise State had just gained possession at its own 14-yard line.

The delay was announced at 12:59 p.m. local time (11:59 a.m. Mountain). It will last at least 30 minutes because of lightning was detected within 8 miles of Cotton Bowl Stadium. However, many lightning strikes followed, so the game likely won’t resume until after 2 p.m. local (1 p.m. Mountain) at the earliest.

The Boise State football team wraps up the 2018 season Wednesday afternoon in the First Responder Bowl against Boston College at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

The game begins at 11:30 a.m. Mountain and will air on ESPN — channel 206 on DirecTV, channel 133/1133 on Cable One and channel 140 on Dish Network.

The forecast calls for Boise State to endure challenging conditions for the second straight game, coming off the snow game against Fresno State in the Mountain West title game.

The Dallas forecast, according to The Weather Channel, is for high winds throughout the game and rain showers in the second half. There’s an 80 percent chance of rain with 20-30 mph winds. The high is expected to reach 65 degrees.

The Cotton Bowl has a grass field, which could create a sloppy playing surface. However, the forecast has improved — for days, it had called for rain to hit Dallas before the game started and continue throughout.

The wind clearly affected some kicks and passes during pregame warmups.

We’ll track all the action today — including scoring updates — in this post throughout the game.



BC — AJ Dillon 19 run (Colton Lichtenberg kick), 9:41. Key plays: After Boise State’s first drive stalled at midfield, the Eagles marched downfield with a 20-yard pass the first play, then only faced a third-and-1 before Dillon busted through the middle for the TD on a third-and-2. Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 2:36. Boston College 7, Boise State 0

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Boston College wide receiver Michael Walker blocks Boise State cornerback Tyler Horton as running back AJ Dillon runs the ball in for a touchdown during the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, in Dallas. Amanda McCoy

News and notes

Boston College star won’t play

Boston College defensive end Zach Allen is out for the First Responder Bowl with an injury. He was wearing a walking boot on his right leg during pregame warmups. Allen is a potential NFL first-round draft pick. He and fellow senior Wyatt Ray have combined for 15.5 sacks this season.

Boise State will be missing key players

Boise State starting linebacker Tyson Maeva (sent home for a violation of team standards), top deep threat John Hightower (academics), backup tailback Robert Mahone (academics) and versatile wide receiver Khalil Shakir (injury) are out for the First Responder Bowl.

Chadd Cripe

Quick hits

Boise State wore all-orange uniforms, including orange facemasks and orange helmet logos. The last time the Broncos wore all orange they scored 56 points against Colorado State in October. ... Cedar Hill High in Texas filled in for Boise State’s band. ... Darian Thompson, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch and Cedrick Wilson were among the Dallas Cowboys expected to be at the game. They all played at Boise State. ... Offensive lineman John Molchon was Boise State’s single-game captain. ... Skyler Seibold carried the Hammer. ... Boise State won the coin toss and took the ball. ...

Chadd Cripe


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