TULSA — Apparently, midnight madness is not just reserved for college basketball teams looking for a fun way to commemorate the start of a new season.
Tulsa has never been an easy place for Oklahoma State football to play, but the 2011 trip may have just thrust itself to the top of the wacky list.
Not just wacky games in this cross-town series. Wacky games in the history of college football. Not necessarily for the play on the field, but for the circumstances surrounding a late night that turned into an early morning to remember.
A severe thunderstorm that blew through the Tulsa area Saturday night area caused a three-hour, six-minute delay, pushing an already late 9:10 p.m. kickoff back to 12:16 Sunday morning. When the final whistle blew, solidifying OSU’s 59-33 victory over the Golden Hurricane at H.A. Chapman Stadium, it was past 3:30 a.m.
“I played five years of minor league baseball had some late starts and 20-inning games, and still nothing really compares to this,” OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “This is a first.
“It’s one of those things that you’ll look back in three or four weeks and say ‘Golly, remember that game we just played that got done at 3:30 in the morning?’ It was weird.”
It’s not the first time weather has impacted a college football game this season.
Lightning strikes delayed the South Florida-Notre Dame, Tennessee Tech-Iowa and Michigan-Western Michigan games on Sept. 3. A day later, the Marshall at West Virginia game was called in the fourth quarter because of lightning.
But those games did not kick off past midnight. Maybe lack of sleep was setting in, but at one point, you just had to chuckle and say, “Is this actually happening?”
While lightning flashed, thunder boomed and rain soaked the field, the approximately 25,000 evacuated fans huddled under the stands or inside the Reynolds Center basketball arena.
Some opted to head for the exits, but many others decided to wait out the storm. One fan, 63-year-old G.E. Beard of Skiatook, even refused to leave his seat.
“I’m just a hard-headed old man,” said Beard, a TU graduate and season-ticket holder.