There was a record-low crowd at the Rose Bowl Saturday as UCLA opened its football season with a 45-17 victory over Bowling Green with a 102-degree temperature at the 11:31 a.m. kickoff.
“It was as hot as I’ve been at a game,” said Bruins coach Chip Kelly, who is in his 32nd season as a coach.
Kelly said he didn’t think the heat was a factor “because it affected both teams.”
“They had a lot of guys go down with cramps. We had a few guys that cramped, a little bit,” Kelly said. “Our medical team and our football performance team did a really good job of getting our guys prepared for this game from a hydration standpoint.”
Falcons quarterback Matt McDonald said the heat “definitely played a factor in the game, but it was hot for them also so you just have to overcome.”
“Second half, guys were dropping like flies (with) cramping and whatnot, so we need to do a better job of preparing,” said McDonald, a former Mission Viejo High School standout and a son of Paul McDonald, a former USC and Cleveland Browns quarterback.
The announced attendance of 27,143 was the least for a UCLA football game at the Rose Bowl when full attendance was permitted. The Bruins have played their home football games at the Rose Bowl since 1982.
There were no immediate reports of heat-related medical incidents.
The temperature was 94 at 3:12 p.m. at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the start of USC’s 66-14 victory over Rice in Lincoln Riley’s debut as the Trojans’ coach in front of a crowd announced at 60,113.
There were relaxed restrictions on water bottles and extra hydration stations at both stadiums.
At the Rose Bowl, fans were permitted to bring factory-sealed water bottles up to 32 ounces into the stadium. Non-glass, empty beverage containers up to 32 ounces were also permitted, and could be filled at “Water Monster” stations near three tunnels.
Misting systems were in operation outside concourse restrooms. Additional tents with misters, fans and shade were placed near Tunnels 28A and 23A, and at Gates C and D.
Fans waiting to get into the stadium before the game were able to visit air-conditioned “cooling buses” located outside Gates B and D beginning at 10 a.m. Once fans entered the stadium, they could access one of the buses by going to the Public Safety Building near Tunnel 28.
Samples of hydrating “liquid I.V.” were available at Gates A and N.
Restrictions on carrying water into the Coliseum were lifted, with fans allowed to bring an unlimited number of clear water bottles up to 20 ounces. Empty refillable water bottles were also permitted. Free water cups were offered at all concession stands.
Cooling fans were operating at all entrance gates. A shade tent with seating was available at First Aid Gate 1, with additional shaded areas at the Heritage Concourse on Level 1, and at Olympic Plaza.
Bags of ice were available at Gates 1, 11 and 23 and at Concourse 17.
The USC Trojan Marching Band did not wear full dress uniforms based on recommendations from USC medical professionals. Instead, the band was provided “with branded apparel that is appropriate for the extreme heat conditions,” according to a letter to The Trojan Marching Band, alumni and friends signed by Dr. Sarah Van Orman, the chief health officer of USC Student Health, Emily Sandoval, USC’s associate vice provost of student affairs, and band director Jacob Vogel.
USC also took extra measures to help band members “stay cool and hydrated throughout the day, including installing a misting system under the band’s bleachers,” the letter said.
There were no heat-related medical incidents at the stadium, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.