BOSTON — Playing in a baseball stadium makes for an interesting football experience, especially at Fenway Park.

Between different dimensions, uncooperative New England weather and benches on the same sideline, the stage was a bit different for the Boston College Eagles and the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the 2023 Wasabi Fenway Bowl.

“The conditions in the first half made it hard to throw and catch,” Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley told reporters after the game. “In the second half, the ability to throw and catch was there. The one side where the infield would have been was kind of muddy. … You’re playing in Fenway Park. I don’t care what the conditions are.”

Despite the weather and new playing surface, Hafley challenged his players to embrace the Fenway Park environment. So that’s exactly what they did.

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The Eagles scored two touchdowns and pitched a second-half shutout after trailing at the break to close out a 23-14 win for the program’s first victory.

While a hometown advantage was likely expected for Boston College, the program still took time to express gratitude to a lively crowd that stood through the rain and wind to see a victory.

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“I want to thank all the fans that did come out,” Hafley said. “They were loud. They were into it and the weather was not. … For our fans to come out and be as loud as they were, we appreciate that.”

Though the interest likely centered around Boston College, players believed that the game at Fenway marked a central event for the city.

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“Not just our fans, I felt like it was the Boston community,” Boston College quarterback Thomas Castellanos added. “Fenway Park fans. It was super loud today. Probably louder than a home game.”

For out-of-town visitors such as the Mustangs, playing a postseason matchup in a historic American city lived up to the hype as a rewarding opportunity.

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“It was a great experience,” SMU head coach Rhett Lashlee shared. “The people at the Fenway Bowl did a great job. Boston is a great city. We had a great time here. Our families and the guys had a good time. This was at least the second time we were coming to this bowl. … A lot of guys on our team have never been to Boston. It’s a pretty historic city.”

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Mustangs quarterback Kevin Jennings had also chimed in earlier in the week during his own enjoyment of historic statues throughout the city that elevated his experience in Boston.

While the setup and atmosphere may be different, the Fenway Bowl has established a unique destination in college football’s bowl season.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images