SAN DIEGO – Ian Johnson breathed a sigh of relief and smiled as walked down the corridor of Qualcomm Stadium and saw his wife, Chrissy.
"I'm done with football," he said as he gave her a big hug and kiss. "Well, at least in college."
While Johnson's NFL future is yet to be determined, his tenure as Boise State's running back officially ended Tuesday when TCU beat Boise State 17-16 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
The most highly anticipated matchup of the non-BCS bowls came down to the last play as Boise State dipped into its bag of tricks one more time for a hook and lateral play that would have been more improbable than the one they famously pulled off against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
This time the play fell short, about 50 yards short to be exact, as anyone who has YouTubed "Fiesta Bowl" and "Boise State" in the past two years knew exactly what to expect.
"I was thinking about the Fiesta Bowl," said Johnson. "I thought we had one more magic moment left."
That Johnson and most everyone watching the game's final moments was thinking about the Fiesta Bowl is nothing new. Not a day goes by that Johnson isn't reminded of that game and his Statue of Liberty two-point conversion run to win the game. Oh, yeah, and the subsequent marriage proposal to the head cheerleader.
"It's hard to believe it's been almost two years," said Chrissy, who graduated last year and now works three jobs as a cheerleading coach, aerobics instructor and property manager. "I'm just excited to be starting a new chapter in our lives. We've had a good time at Boise State but it's time to move on."
While the Johnsons are celebrities in Boise, they are looking forward to a future where they can be just a regular couple in a big city. Where exactly that will be depends on where and if Johnson gets drafted. He said that even if the NFL doesn't work out he and his wife might move to London for a year. He's planning on going there regardless at some point next year to watch Chelsea, his favorite soccer team, play in person.
"I'm ready for some change, I'm tired of working three jobs," said Chrissy with a smile as she hugged Johnson. "It's been hard the last couple years. I want to move to a big city until we have kids and then we can move back to Boise and have a home and raise a family."
As Chrissy talked about the couple's future, many of Johnson's teammates walked past him and patted him on the back and said good-bye.
"It hasn't really hit me yet that I'm not going to see a lot of these guys for a while," said Johnson, who ran for his 58th career rushing touchdown in the first quarter, moving him past Marshall Faulk for the most in WAC history. "It doesn't feel like this is the end because I haven't played my best football yet and that's the truth. I feel like there's a lot of football left and me so I'm looking at this as a changing of the uniforms. I have to look at it like that so I don't get too emotional."