A.J. Dillon looked as if he was on his way to a big day in Wednesday’s matchup with No. 25 Boise State in the First Responder Bowl at Dallas.
With 5:08 remaining in the first quarter, Boston College’s All-ACC sophomore running back already had scampered for a 19-yard touchdown, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
Then, things got weird.
Lightning flashed over Cotton Bowl Stadium, prompting officials to suspend play. After 90 minutes of delay, the game was canceled and called no contest, —ending BC’s season at 7-5.
While many coaches, players and administrators expressed confusion and frustration after the game, Dillon ran a different route. The 2017 ACC Rookie of the Year took to Twitter, tweeting out a heartfelt, four-part message — typed on the Notes app of his iPhone — addressing Boise State, the First Responder Bowl Committee, BC fans, and his senior teammates.
“We all know this isn’t how we envisioned this game playing out,’’ Dillon wrote in his message to the fans, which was tweeted early Thursday morning.
“We had been working on this [game] for a month now and were prepared to play at competitive excellence. However, this is part of the game and for 10 or so minutes you got a chance to see what that [sic] 2019 Boston College are ready to bring to the table.’’
BC athletic director Martin Jarmond commended the star tailback, responding to Dillon’s message with a quote tweet.
“1st class! Proud of @ajdillon7 and @BCFootball for response to a tough situation…special young men,’’ Jarmond wrote.
Other BC players shared their thoughts on Twitter, as well.
“I love the seniors and everything they have done here and it’s time to build off that foundation and get back to work,’’ wrote starting quarterback Anthony Brown, a redshirt sophomore who tossed 20 TDs this season.
“These past 3½ years have been nothing short of amazing,’’ tweeted senior wideout Jeff Smith.
“Grew as a football player and more importantly as a man.’’
Jarmond announced Wednesday afternoon via Twitter that fans who purchased tickets to the bowl game through BC would be given a full refund. Additionally, fans would be given free tickets to any home athletic event between now and next December.
Thank you all for an amazing expirence. Safe travels and Happy holidays! pic.twitter.com/uTPIZQvVt7
— AJ “The Sauce” Dillon (@ajdillon7) December 27, 2018