The Boise State-Florida State football game scheduled for Saturday has been moved to Tallahassee and will be played at the Seminoles’ Doak Campbell Stadium as Hurricane Dorian heads toward Florida.
The Broncos and Seminoles will play at 10 a.m. Mountain time Saturday, the schools announced. The game will be broadcast on ESPNews — a downgrade from ESPN, where it originally was going to be shown.
The previous location, Jacksonville, is in the projected path of the hurricane.
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said the schedule change shouldn’t affect his team. He found out about the change about 15 minutes before a Thursday morning practice in Boise and told the players before they took the field.
“There’s no excuses whatsoever,” Harsin told a group of reporters. “This changes nothing as far as what we’re trying to accomplish with our game plan. ... That’s exactly what I told our guys. ... They just shrugged their shoulders like, ‘Doesn’t matter where you put us, we’ll get it done.’ ”
The change of venue announcement came as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and expanded it Thursday to cover the entire state.
Forecasters said Thursday that Dorian is expected to be a Category 3 storm, meaning winds of at least 111 mph, or perhaps a catastrophic Category 4, at 130 mph or more, before broadsiding the U.S. on Monday, according to The Associated Press. The storm was expected to hit somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia — a 500-mile stretch that reflected the high degree of uncertainty.
[Related: Boise State fans adjust their travel plans]
The game originally was scheduled for 5 p.m. MT at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, home of the NFL’s Jaguars. The game is part of a two-year contract between the schools, with Florida State playing in Boise next season.
“After consulting with emergency responders, law enforcement and hurricane preparedness teams at the state and local level, moving the game is the best option given the information we have at this time,” Florida State Athletic Director David Coburn said in a statement Thursday morning. “We regret having to move the venue, in particular because of the tremendous work that the City of Jacksonville has invested in this event. They have been great partners, and we are disappointed that the game had to be moved. Our fans were very much looking forward to the experience.”
Harsin hasn’t received any assurance that the game will be played, he said. The forecast in Tallahassee calls for a high of 90 degrees Saturday, with light winds and scattered thunderstorms late in the day, according to The Weather Channel.
“We’re all anxious,” Harsin said. “We want to get on that field and play. Right now, I think there’s a solution for it, and hopefully it works out.”
The Broncos were scheduled to fly out of Boise at 1 p.m. Thursday and practice at a Jacksonville high school Friday. They decided to stick to that schedule and then travel to Tallahassee, which is about 170 miles west of Jacksonville.
Boise State’s last scheduled game, the First Responder Bowl against Boston College, was canceled in the first quarter because of heavy lightning and rain. That was in December in Dallas — and this week was an unpleasant reminder of that situation.
“It’s been strange,” Harsin said. “... We get out there, that ball gets kicked off, we’re playing the game and everything looks good, we’re back to normal, and that’s really where we need to get.”
Working to the Broncos’ benefit: They have a highly experienced roster — with true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier as a notable exception.
Doak Campbell Stadium holds 79,560 fans.
“I expect it to be a packed house,” Harsin said. “I expect that they’re going to get this all together. That’s what I would assume. It looks like an environment that you want to play in.”
In a press release, Florida State announced that all tickets purchased for the game in Jacksonville will be refunded. Additionally, tickets for the game at Doak Campbell Stadium will be available online for $10 and at the door for $15. There will be no reserved seating in the stadium.
A Boise State spokesman told the Statesman that the school had distributed about 1,600 tickets.
Students at Boise State and Florida State can get into the game for free with a student ID.
ESPN is moving its equipment and announcing crew to Tallahassee but the game will air on ESPNews because South Alabama-Nebraska has the 10 a.m. slot on ESPN. The U.S. Open tennis tournament is on ESPN2.
ESPNews is channel 135 on Cable One, 207 on DirecTV and 142 on Dish Network.
“We respect the decision by all involved to adjust the site and start time for the game, especially given the circumstances,” ESPN said in a statement provided to the Idaho Statesman. “Once informed of that decision, we began the process to move our people and equipment to Tallahassee. Given existing programming commitments, ESPNews was the best option for the game at its rescheduled day and time. The production level of the game remains the same.”