It's awesome to be invited to a bowl game.  It also means the Christmas holiday is a little different, with hotel beds and catered food in place of cozy fires in the living room and mom's home cooking. For one Boise State player, he's also spending Christmas away from his 1-year old daughter.

Linebacker Darren Lee is a husband and father to little Adalyn, and lives with his family on a third floor Boise Bench apartment.  The Broncos left for Phoenix, Arizona late last week to prep on site for the Cactus Bowl, and for most players and their families that meant celebrating Christmas early.

Instead of opening presents with family on Christmas Eve, the Broncos posted on their Facebook page that they had a Christmas Eve practice in the rain!   Not a exactly a warm and fuzzy holiday moment.  But Santa always seems to work with travelers, so I'm sure little Adalyn and the rest of the affected families scored some pretty cool gifts before the team left on the trip.

Darren has played a lot on special teams for the Broncos this season, and contributed big plays at linebacker too.  Remember when he stripped the ball and ran it in for a touchdown in a big win over Oregon State back in September?  That was the biggest highlight of the season for #44, and maybe of his career.

The Idaho Statesman says Lee graduated from Boise State December 17th, and plans to enter the police academy in January to become a Boise police officer.  That will make Daddy proud!

The Broncos play Baylor tomorrow night (Tuesday, December 27th) in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl at Chase Field in Phoenix.  And then it's back to Boise to start playing with all those Christmas gifts.