Boise State Football

‘Can’t control Mother Nature’: Boise State fans adjust after hurricane alters plans

Brock Kimball is on a cold (and wet) streak.

Kimball graduated from Boise State in 2008 and lives in Houston. He was at last year’s First Responder Bowl, a game that technically never actually occurred because of lightning delays that forced a “no contest.” It was the first college bowl game ever canceled due to bad weather, and was called after about 10 minutes of game action.

Fast-forward to Thursday, and Kimball found himself in a similar predicament, though in a slightly worse place. Like many other Boise State fans, Kimball had planned on traveling to Jacksonville for Boise State’s season opener against Florida State. Once again, however, weather has thwarted his and many others’ plans.

Because of the approaching Hurricane Dorian, the game has been moved 2 1/2 hours west to Tallahassee, on Florida State’s home field, and the kickoff was moved up seven hours, from 7 p.m. Eastern time to noon (10 a.m. Mountain time). That move means that Kimball, who’s afraid of missing a flight back to Houston and being stuck in Florida, likely will be unable to attend, unless he decides to partake in a 12-hour drive along Interstate 10.

“Can’t control Mother Nature,” Kimball, who was looking forward to visiting friends who went to school at Florida A&M, told the Statesman. “I might need to take a break from going to BSU football games.”

The game was scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN but will now air on ESPNews.

Dorian’s winds are expected to reach at least 111 miles per hour as a Category 3 storm, though it could reach Category 4. It is expected to make landfall anywhere from the Florida Keys to Georgia on Monday, but its winds and rain will affect the state of Florida long before that.

Florida State is refunding all tickets that were purchased for the game in Jacksonville and is selling tickets online for $10 and at the stadium’s ticket office the day of the game for $15. There will be no reserved seating at Doak Campbell Stadium, which holds 79,560 fans, and parking will be free.

A Boise State spokesman told the Statesman that the school had distributed about 1,600 tickets.

The Statesman reached out to fans on social media to see whose plans were altered. Josh Pagel, a 2012 graduate of Boise State, is still able to go to the game. He is, however, out about $350.

Pagel, currently residing in Indianapolis, had rented a beach house in Jacksonville with five of his college friends. The plan changed with the news of Dorian, however, and, Pagel rented an AirBnb place in Tallahassee. Though he was able to adjust his flight plans, Pagel told the Statesman that he has been unable to get a refund on the beach house.

“We have hurricane insurance, but the company said the house has to have no water, power, roads closed, etc., which so far, the house still has all of that and would upon our arrival,” he told the Statesman.

Mark Carringer, a Boise resident who graduated from Boise State in 1972, built a two-week vacation around the game. It was an opportunity to visit his son and family, who live near Augusta, Georgia. The family then went to the Georgia coast.

Because he was already within driving distance of the game, Thursday’s news didn’t make a huge difference to Carringer. He had previously planned on driving to Orlando and then to Jacksonville. Now he will go straight from the Georgia coast to Tallahassee, which is only a few hours.

Carringer was also at the First Responder Bowl.

“Being this close, if the game was being played, we were going,” he told the Statesman.

Tyler Roberts, a 2008 graduate living in Atlanta, also had planned to drive to the game regardless. Instead of driving straight through Saturday morning, he is staying in Columbus, Georgia, on Friday, and heading to and from Tallahassee on Saturday. He ended up saving about $200 by staying with family in Georgia rather than staying in a hotel, he said.

Roberts was bringing four people from Atlanta, with tickets initially costing around $55. With Florida State issuing refunds, however, combined with ticket prices dropping close to $40 per seat, Roberts’ group saved about $500, including the hotel changes.

The Broncos’ matchup with the Seminoles was one Roberts was not going to miss. His son, Holton, is “the only Boise State fan at school” in Atlanta. Holton, 9, met former Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien and a few other players at last season’s game at Troy, which was his first Boise State game. Taking Holton to another game, particularly one against a high-magnitude opponent such as Florida State, was an experience Tyler wanted his son to have.

“He rocks his gear all the time (at school),” Tyler told the Statesman. “So it’s fun to see him enjoy it.”

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