First Responder Bowl canceled due to weather in North Texas

The Servpro First Responder Bowl in Dallas was canceled after less than one quarter of game play due to severe weather in the area.

The game at the Cotton Bowl stadium in Fair Park was halted with 5:08 left in the first quarter due to a lightning strike nearby about 1 p.m. CT and was officially canceled about 2:30 p.m.

While Boston College was ahead 7-0 when the game was stopped, the bowl will officially be declared a “no contest” due to weather. According to the NCAA, it's the first bowl game in history to be canceled due to weather.

“We knew there was a chance of inclement weather for this game,” bowl executive director Brant Ringler said. “There were no intentions to move the game. Usually the weather plays out to play the game. We had a weather report for what we were going to do and all of those things played out today and we had to make the decision on if we would be able to play today. We had to make that decision and now we just have to move forward.

"We discussed with all parties involved, ESPN, the athletic directors, the coaches. Oftentimes weather moves, and we saw what was possibly coming. It was listed as scattered thunderstorms, and there was a chance it was going to miss us, but, unfortunately, it did not.”

There will be no rescheduling or makeup of the game between teams from the Mountain West Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“My son is a huge Boise State fan and he was looking forward to getting to see them for the first time and 10 minutes in its over for them,” said Mark Brown, who lives in Louisiana. “His Christmas present is gone.”

With both teams having traveled from out of state, many fans and players spent Christmas away from home. A few tried to stay positive.

“I still have a smile on my face,” said Boise State fan Angel Mattison Brantley. “I’m here with my family we came all the way from California, 20 hour ride with about a dozen of us in the van, came to the game to cheer on No. 22.”

But most people left disappointed.

“We missed the Christmas holiday with our family in Connecticut, spent a couple days in Dallas, spent a lot of money -- which is okay -- but to have a no contest, no game result, doesn't really sit well with us,” said Boston College fan Gene Palazzolo.

Perhaps the most upset were the players and their families, including some seniors who were set to play in their final football game.

“It’s a bummer, my brothers last college game so all the way here to not see much,” said Boston College fan Brian Strachan.

But in a game with so much planning and precision, some things cannot be planned.

“It kinda sucks. You put in all this time, we’ve worked really hard, I just wish we could have finished the game,” said Boise State redshirt senior linebacker Joe Provenzano. “But you can't control the weather, so it is what it is I guess.”

Boston College Athletic Director Martin Jarmond tweeted that fans who purchased bowl tickets through Boston College would get a full refund. They would also get free tickets to any home Boston College athletics event for the number of tickets purchased to the bowl.

The bowl game itself became the subject of a political tug-of-war at Dallas City Hall earlier this year. After fierce debate, the council approved in an 8-6 vote to subsidize the bowl with $300,000 worth of city money over two years. That funding to ESPN is non-refundable.

Late Wednesday night, organizers said ticketholders will have the option of a full refund or get tickets to next years at no cost and an additional two free tickets per order. For refunds, you're asked to send an email to info@firstresponderbowl.com

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