The University of Colorado was supposed to play host to Fresno State at Folsom Field on Saturday afternoon, but when historic rains led to massive flooding in and around Boulder this week the school postponed the football game and hosted flood victims and first responders at the stadium instead.

Colorado football players and coaches, joined by other student-athletes and athletic department staffers, served lunch to approximately 800 residents of married and family housing and first responders on the suite level at Folsom Field early Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of residents in married and family housing units adjacent to the football practice fields had to be evacuated when Boulder Creek rose dramatically Thursday and Friday. The swollen creek cut off power and water and flooded some units.

Centerplate, the company that handles concessions in Folsom Field, had the food for Saturday's game delivered Friday before the school made the decision to postpone the game. Athletic director Rick George said it was a no-brainer choosing to give the food to those who need it most right now.

"A lot of the people we're giving it to are young kids who live in married housing who still don't have water or power and some of them don't have food in their refrigerators," George said. "To be able to do this is terrific. Our student-athletes and coaches are a great group of people."

Televisions and the stadium big screens showed other college games around the country as the Buffs served up hamburgers, hotdogs, brats, cookies and chips and other game day staples.

"It's been a really nice break and a nice little diversion for us," said officer Matthew DeLaria of the CU Police Department. "It's nice to see the players and everybody out here working to support the community.

"It's been hard. It's been exhausting. All the police, fire and ambulance crews are just running and running and running. We're all working 12-hour shifts at least. So we're tired but we're hanging in there. We've got a lot of support from the community. So it's been good."

Everyone would have preferred to see the Buffs on the field against the Bulldogs, but being able to relax, eat and watch something other than rising water was a welcome relief.

The Buffs won't play again until a Sept. 28 road game at Oregon State. Next week was a previously scheduled bye week. They don't play in Folsom Field again until Oct. 5 against Oregon.

Eugene and Shana Ding live approximately 100 yards from Boulder Creek in married and family housing. They were awakened by police at 2 a.m. Friday and told to evacuate. They chose to stay with their two sons and keep an eye on the rising water. Neighbors on the third-floor above their ground-floor apartment offered to open their doors to the family if needed.

"This is great," Eugene Ding said. "We celebrate that we survived. ... We really feel like a family."

Mike and Barbara MacFerrin live at Smiley Court near 30th Street and Arapahoe. They were not evacuated and never lost power in their apartment, but they recently moved from a complex closer to the creek where residents were evacuated. The couple is expecting their first child together in a month and was in the middle of unpacking when the flooding began.

Mike MacFerrin, a CU graduate student who is working on his doctorate in the Geography Department, said he had never seen Boulder Creek running at more than 600 cubic feet per second. He said he received a text near midnight Thursday telling him the creek was running at more than 5,000 cubic feet per second.

The MacFerrins said they are thankful to CU for the meal and a few hours of distraction and they consider themselves lucky compared to friends and neighbors.

"Just moving in and my wife due in a month, I did not want to have our apartment flooded, everything ruined and trying to figure out what to do from there," Mike MacFerrin said. "We got lucky."

CU place-kicker Will Oliver is one of eight members of the football team who has been displaced from his apartment by the flooding. Oliver joined his teammates in serving food to others who have endured three straight nights of sirens and flood warnings telling citizens to move to higher ground.

"A lot of these people have lost their homes," Oliver said. "Their homes are flooded and they have no idea what they're going to do. It's nice to be able to give back and make sure everyone is OK."

CU coach Mike MacIntyre and his family pitched in, and, at times, MacIntyre looked like a proud father watching CU players carrying trays of food, emptying trash bags and talking with children and their parents.

"This truly teaches life lessons," MacIntyre said. "There are a lot more important things than football."

Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/kyleringo.