Update on the latest in sports:
First Responder Bowl loses to lightning
UNDATED (AP) — Lightning struck early and literally in today’s first football bowl game. The lightning strike in the 1st quarter of the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl in Dallas wiped out the game with Boston College leading No. 23 Boise State 7-0. Officials were watching the weather in hopes of resuming the game but decided to cancel.
The game was stopped with BC leading 7-0 with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter Wednesday at Cotton Bowl Stadium. The delay came not long after AJ Dillon ran 19 yards for a touchdown.
Before the announcement, fans began returning to their seats after a line of severe storms rolled through the area near downtown Dallas. More storms were expected later in the day.
Boise (10-3) was trying for its second straight 11-win season after losing to Fresno State 19-16 in overtime in the Mountain West Conference championship game. The Eagles (7-5) were going for the first eight-win season in six years under coach Steve Addazio.
Two other games come later as the countdown continues to the CFP semifinals on Saturday. Minnesota and Georgia Tech are in Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl. And Phoenix hosts the Cheez-It Bowl between California and TCU.
In other college football bowl news:
— Brandon Wimbush is practicing with Notre Dame to be the No. 2 quarterback for the third-ranked Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl amid questions about his future with the team after the College Football Playoff. Several media reports say Wimbush has notified Notre Dame that he intends to transfer. The senior already has a degree and could transfer to another school and play immediately as a graduate transfer.
— No.. 2 Clemson is preparing to play without star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence when it faces No. 3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. Lawrence and two teammates failed an NCAA test for performance-enhancing drugs.
— Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray has missed his scheduled media availability at the Orange Bowl on Wednesday because of what the team says is an illness. Murray was able to go through practice with the Sooners on Tuesday, and the nature of his illness was not disclosed. However, there doesn’t seem to be much concern about him missing time.
— Michigan right tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty has become the Wolverines’ fourth draft-eligible player to pull out of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against Florida. Bushell-Beatty, a fifth-year senior, didn’t travel with the team to Atlanta. The eighth-ranked Wolverines also will be without running back Karan Higdon, defensive end Rashan Gary and linebacker Devin Bush Jr.
Jaguars turning to Blake Bortles for season finale at Texans
UNDATED (AP) — Blake Bortles is getting another start for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It could be his last.
Coach Doug Marrone announced Wednesday that Bortles will start the season finale at Houston, giving the embattled quarterback a chance to close out the season on a positive note.
Bortles came off the bench at Miami last Sunday and led Jacksonville to the go-ahead score in a 17-7 victory. The fifth-year pro completed 5 of 6 passes for 39 yards and carried four times for 25 yards, including scampers of 14 and 13 yards on a field-goal drive that broke a 7-all tie.
Bortles looked considerably better than Cody Kessler, who was sacked five times and lost a fumble for the third consecutive week.
In other NFL news:
— The Panthers have placed quarterback Taylor Heinicke on injured reserve with an elbow injury. Kyle Allen is expected to start this Sunday against the Saints with Carolina eliminated from the playoffs. The team has signed Garrett Gilbert, who was with Carolina in training camp, as a backup. The team does not want to activate Cam Newton, who is struggling with a shoulder injury, in Week 17.
— Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota says he’s doing “everything in my power” to be available against Indianapolis with a playoff berth on the line for the winner. Mariota did not practice, and he also refused to detail what symptoms he’s still dealing with after being hurt on a sack late in the first half of Tennessee’s win over Washington last weekend. But on his weekly radio appearance hours earlier, Mariota says the hit left his whole right side “numb and tingly.”
— As he piles up wins Baker Mayfield isn’t changing his behavior on the field. Cleveland’s rookie quarterback dismissed criticism for staring down Bengals coach Hue Jackson in the final minutes of Sunday’s win. After completing a 66-yard pass Mayfield stared at Jackson, his former coach, while running down the field. Mayfield said he’s ‘not trying to be anyone else’ and only cares about how he is perceived by his teammates. The Browns play their season finale at Baltimore on Sunday.
James’ MRI shows groin strain, Lakers say he’s day to day
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has a strained left groin muscle, and the team is listing him as day to day.
James got hurt in the third quarter of the Lakers’ win at Golden State on Christmas night.
James has appeared in 156 consecutive games, including playoffs.
Indian casinos across US wary of betting on sports books
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Native American tribe in Mississippi earlier this year became the first to open a sports book on tribal lands outside Nevada following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
But months after tribes cheered the end of a ban on sports betting, only two have opened sports books. That’s because the regulatory challenges and low-margin nature of the business have prompted them to carefully weigh whether their casinos truly need the amenity.
The sports book owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is the first to open on tribal lands outside of Nevada, a no-brainer business decision given the sports fans among its gambling clientele.
The book at Pearl River Resort is packed every college football Saturday, but remains an outlier months after the high court opened the door for expanded sports gambling across the United States by striking down a federal ban.
But few Indian casinos have an enviable location like the Choctaw and many need state approval to add sports betting to their offerings.