FRISCO, Texas — Towson trailed North Dakota State, 21-7, at halftime of Saturday’s Football Championship Subdivision title game, but nothing took more of a beating than the turf at Toyota Stadium.
The Bermuda-grass field at the 20,500-seat facility was constantly getting dug up by players, and as many as 40 staffers from the stadium and the NCAA flooded the field in between changes of possessions to stamp down the turf.
Towson running backs Terrance West and Darius Victor each tripped on separate running plays in the second and third quarter, and Bison senior quarterback Brock Jensen had to jump on one loose chunk of grass before lining up under center in the third period.
Nick Shafer, the stadium's vice president of operations blamed the weather for the poor field conditions, saying in a written statement distributed at halftime, "The facility replaced the turf on the field between the hash marks on Nov. 18. Shortly thereafter, an ice storm came through Frisco and ice sat on the field for a week. This prevented the grass from taking root underneath the turf. We haven't changed any field preparation from years' past. The only difference this year is that weather did not cooperate with us."
Tigers coach Rob Ambrose dismissed any notion that the turf affected the play. "In the end, we played in snow, red turf, busted turf, you name it," he said, referring to a snowstorm that blanketed the team's win against Eastern Illinois and the red-colored field at Eastern Washington. "It doesn't matter."
Fans and viewers of the game took to Twitter to point out the hazardous conditions, and the Wikipedia entry on Toyota Stadium was swiftly updated to reflect the poor nature of the field.