Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Multiple lightning delays have huge impacts on battle between UMass and Miami of Ohio

Almost six hours of delays necessary to finish non-conference contest
Kayla Wong
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts football team took on the Miami RedHawks in a game that finished almost nine hours after its scheduled start. Two separate lightning delays made both teams deal with a situation that most schools probably never will have to even think about.

The first delay came just a few minutes before the 3:30 p.m. scheduled kickoff. A lightning strike within an eight-mile radius stopped players warming up and forced all fans in attendance to evacuate the stadium.

After an over two-hour delay, kickoff finally came at approximately 5:39 p.m. The biggest difference immediately noticed was the much smaller number of fans in the stands.

“[It was] not a fun experience,” head coach Don Brown said. “Here you are in your first home game, and there’s not a soul in the bleachers.”

As the first quarter neared its end, another lightning strike came down in the area, forcing everything that happened less than 30 minutes later to repeat itself. Fans were again asked to clear the stadium as players and staff sheltered inside their locker rooms.

After a second delay at around 6:05 p.m., the staff for each team had to decide what the plan of action would be. The decision made was to wait it out and keep the teams at the stadium until the storm passed.

“I think all avenues were looked at, and [delaying the game] seemed like the most logical [decision],” Brown said.

The second delay was roughly 90 minutes longer than the first, with the game resuming back up again around 9:42 p.m. Players were forced to come back onto the field after sitting still for hours and attempt to get warmed up again, lock back in and compete at a high level.

Luckily for both sides, once the contest resumed for the second time it was able to be played out in full and put into the books as a completed game. Things were bumpy along the way however, with the two teams combining for 15 penalties as well as five fumbles and three interceptions.

“It was not an easy experience … to go through that kind of weather,” Brown said. “[We were] on and off the field three times. At least we were on the field from [roughly] 10 o’clock until the finale.”

The Minutemen (1-2) dealt with losing a real home-field advantage and the fact that they had to get ready to play football three different times. In the end they fell to the RedHawks (1-1) by a score of 41-28. It wasn’t exactly how their home opener was supposed to go, but sometimes Mother Nature has other plans.

UMass looks to bounce back after back-to-back losses when it travels to Ypsilanti, Michigan to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Kickoff at Rynearson Stadium is set for Saturday, Sept. 16 at 2 p.m.

“[Saturday night] was tough for our players,” Brown said. “We’ve been to El Paso, we’ve been to Auburn, Alabama and maybe one of the toughest games we played was our own home game in terms of the demands physically [and] mentally.”

Mike Maynard can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @mikecmaynard.

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