By City News Service
Navy and San Diego State may have to contend with slippery turf Thursday night when they play in the Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium, where 1.5 million gallons of storm water had to be pumped out because of the recent rain.
The natural turf playing field, which had been deluged with water and mud, appears to be in good shape, with a freshly spray-painted San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl logo, said Poinsettia Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski.
The good news is that no more rain is expected during the game, which could come down to which team is able to adjust to the condition of the playing surface. Both teams rely on speed to overcome their opponents — the Midshipmen on the ground and the Aztecs via the air.
Navy, 9-3, pounds the ball inside, hoping to eventually spring a big play on the perimeter.
Much of San Diego State's scoring in its 8-4 season came on long passes to speedy wide receivers Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson. The Aztecs are in their first bowl game in 12 years.
To San Diego State coach Brady Hoke, the condition of the field doesn't matter.
"Whatever it is, it is, and you got to go play on it," Hoke said at a news conference Wednesday. "The thing about football is you both play on the same surface and you do the same things."
Tailgaters were already arriving this afternoon, but only 11,000 parking spots out of the usual 19,000 are available due to floodwaters from the San Diego River that covered much of the outer ring of the lot Wednesday morning.
A record 51,000 tickets have been sold for the game, which is set to kickoff at 5:06 p.m.
The previous record for the bowl game, started in 2005, was 39,129, when Navy played Utah in 2007.
The Metropolitan Transit System will provide special green light services at 15-minute intervals on nearby roads to ease game traffic, and ACE Parking is cooperating to maximize parking.
Due to limited parking, fans are urged to carpool or consider public transportation.
Fans can count on extra Green Line trolleys heading to the stadium, but should still arrive early, said Judy Leitner of the MTS.
The parking lot opened at 11 a.m. Off-site parking is available, for a fee, at San Diego State University, the Mission City Corporate Center on Northside Drive, the Marriott Mission Valley on Rio San Diego Drive, and the Town and County Hotel on Hotel Circle North.
All but the SDSU site are in Mission Valley, so some may also be impacted by the rain.