Bronco Beat

Boise State's Jeremy Ioane on Senior Day tackle: 'I felt like Rudy'

Boise State safety Jeremy Ioane’s Senior Day appearance could have ended on the third snap Saturday night and he’d have been happy.

He played two series and finished with one tackle.

“I felt like Rudy, making one tackle,” Ioane said Monday. “I was good for the rest of the game.”

It was Ioane’s first game since he revealed publicly— in an Idaho Statesman feature story — that he has a kidney disease and needs a kidney transplant. He had played one full game and one series since the Sept. 13 game at Connecticut. He started the first three games.

He was the last senior honored during pre-game introductions and was greeted by his 2-year-old son, Raydor, when he reached the end of the band tunnel jogging onto the field.

“It got to me,” Ioane said. “As soon as I got that hug from (coach Bryan Harsin), he just told me everything is going to be all right. I started to break down already. I tried to keep as much of a straight face as possible running out.”

The seniors went back into the locker room and Ioane led the team onto the field with the Hammer. It was his first time carrying the Hammer. He did so at the request of the award’s weekly winner, linebacker Darren Lee.

“It was quite a surprise actually,” Ioane said. “It was before we even went out to do the senior announcements. He said I deserved it. I couldn’t deny him. I tried to deny it. I didn’t want to run out with the Hammer just because I was getting enough attention, I felt like — more than I should.”

The community has raised more than $16,000 to help Ioane with future medical expenses since the article published Thursday.

“It’s just crazy how Boise is so closely knit,” Ioane said. “It’s unreal how people can reach out to others and do as much as they can to help in any sort of way. I’m not trying to ask for much. I don’t want to ask for anything. Bronco Nation — they’re just looking out for one of their own.”

He hopes to play again Saturday against Fresno State in the Mountain West championship game. He says he still feels comfortable on the field, despite a lack of playing time. The last time he played a full set of snaps in the safety rotation was Oct. 17 against Fresno State.

Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates liked what he saw from Ioane last week.

“He played well. He played fast,” Yates said. “He’s a guy we have to keep an eye on his health. But he had a good week.”

Coaches encouraged Ioane to tell his story so fans would know what he’s dealt with during his career. They also were hopeful that the community would rally behind him as it has.

“He’s done a lot for this program and he’s in a position now where it’s difficult and every little bit helps,” Harsin said. “ It says a lot about our community. We break (the huddle) down every day on family — that goes beyond just in this building here. I’ve been really appreciative for Jeremy what people have done and I know that’s going to continue. This is the start.”

EARLIER POST:

The College Football Assistance Fund has awarded a $7,500 grant to Boise State senior safety Jeremy Ioane to help with his medical expenses, the fund announced Monday.

Ioane has a kidney disease and needs a transplant. He likely will have surgery next year, when he no longer will be covered by university insurance. He graduates this month.

The College Football Assistance Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the support of football players. It eases the burden of major medical costs for players. The CFAF was established in 2010 by a group of collegiate coaches and administrators.

The CFAF also has started a fund to collect donations for Ioane.

Already, the Boise community and Bronco fans have raised more than $16,000 for Ioane through a youcaring.com website.

Ioane told his story publicly for the first time in an Idaho Statesman article published on Thanksgiving. Here are the original story and a follow-up from Saturday’s game.

LINKS

Jay Ajayi named player of the week

Hedrick named team MVP

Broncos climb to No. 22 in the poll

Email me at ccripe@idahostatesman.com.

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