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September 30, 2014

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Tailgaters, ready for MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, undeterred by drizzle

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Justin M. Bowen

A Utah kicker practices before his team faces Bosie State in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Boise State came out with a 26-3 win.

Maaco Bowl Las Vegas

Boise State fans celebrate after their team beat Utah 26-3 to win the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

Helmets and cleats, meet ponchos and umbrellas.

As No. 10 Boise State was gearing up for the kickoff off against No. 20 Utah on Wednesday in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, fans got a taste of Las Vegas winter.

"We were totally hoping for better weather all week, but at least it's better than all the snow back home where we're from," said Debra Bosch, who braved the rain to tailgate outside the stadium.

"We will support Boise State everywhere — rain or shine," she said.

Bosch and her family members arrived at the stadium around noon despite having to fight through some heavy rains.

“It was coming down pretty hard for awhile,” she said. “We had to hit the tent with a shovel to keep it from coming down.”

Vendors inside Sam Boyd Stadium were selling umbrellas and rain-resistant ponchos for $5. Gloves were available for $10.

The stadium’s field turf, which rarely is played on during wet conditions, clearly was damp. Puddles were visible in the north end zone as well as elsewhere on the field.

Kickers from both Boise State and Utah were warming up more than 90 minute before kickoff, making the necessary adjustments for kicking in the rain. A handful of skilled-position players were also on the field, with a majority in game pants, form-fitting practice shirts and gloves. It was only lightly drizzling.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the weather wouldn’t be detrimental to how the game was played.

“It will have a little effect, but it’s the same for both teams. I don’t think it’s an advantage for one team or the other, but it’s going to affect the play-calling on offense,” he said.

Determined fans – most seeming to be cheering for Boise State – donned rain apparel in the school’s orange and blue colors while they grilled hot dogs and drinking beer as they gathered under pop-up tents for cover.

“We look crazy, don’t we?” Boise State fan Winston Johnson said.

The gates at Sam Boyd Stadium opened shortly after 3:30 p.m. with a long group of fans lined up to enter. The game is sold out for a sixth straight year; it was unclear a couple of hours before its start whether the rain would deter fans.

Traffic leading into the stadium on Russell Road and Tropicana Avenue was light, but the right-hand eastbound lane on Tropicana was flooded, causing drivers to proceed slower or head into the left lane.

Throughout the Las Vegas Valley on Wednesday, heavy rains prompted road closures but by late afternoon, most streets had reopened.

Kick off is at 5 p.m.

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