COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Late in the fourth quarter, the fans at Kyle Field let out a loud cheer after freshman backup quarterback Kyle Allen completed a pass to Malcome Kennedy for a 9-yard gain and a first down.
But the cheer wasn’t for Allen or the Texas A&M offense or the play. It was for the Kyle Field grounds crew, who spent a few seconds placing sand in a divot. The group was rather busy on Saturday night during the Aggies’ 38-10 win over Rice, tending to the playing surface as large divots emerged throughout the game.
The Aggies have a new grass surface this season (the previous one had to be replaced during the Kyle Field redevelopment project, which is ongoing) and College Station received a torrential downpour of rain on Friday night, which didn’t help field conditions.
Rice coach David Bailiff expressed concern about the field conditions and, according to the Houston Chronicle, spoke with Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman after the game.
Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard said the Aggies were in constant communication on steps to keep the field safe throughout the game.
“We were comfortable with the way they handled it,” Karlgaard said.
Bailiff was complimentary of the grounds crew after the game.
“I thought their grounds crew did as good a job as anybody could do keeping up with that,” Bailiff said.
The players noted after the game that the field did cause some difficulty at times.
“It’s a new field and it’s a pretty bad field,” Texas A&M defensive end Julien Obioha said. “We’ve got to get used to it. Conditions aren’t always perfect. There are times out there myself when I was on a block and the field would give out but you can’t change anything about it. You just have to deal with it.”
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said that if the field conditions caused big issues, they would have taken further action.
“I don’t know how much [the field conditions] impacted the game,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We got a lot of rain last night … you never know with a new surface what it was going to be like. The good news is it didn’t rain very much all day today. It could have been worse if it was raining.
“It was something we kept an eye on and if we thought it was going to be a really, really big issue, then there would’ve been decisions made, not necessarily by me, but in conjunction with a lot of other people that things would have changed.”