There was a record-small season opener crowd at the Rose Bowl Saturday as UCLA started its football season with a 45-17 victory over Bowling Green in 102-degree heat at the 11:31 a.m. kickoff.
The announced attendance of 27,143 was the lowest for a non-pandemic-restricted UCLA football game at the Rose Bowl since 1982. The heat was “unprecedented.”
Pasadena spokesperson Lisa Derderian said a preliminary report indicated the Pasadena Fire Dept. paramedics had contact with 107 patients and treated 30. A total of six were transported for further treatment at a medical facility.
Over 300 people utilized the air-conditioned cooling buses located outside Gates B and D. Another bus was located inside the gates near Tunnel 28.
“Pasadena’s known for its weather on January 1st, not so much for its weather on September 1st,” said Rose Bowl CEO and General Manager Jens Weiden.
“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.
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.