Buffalo's football game canceled Wednesday

Kent State's equipment truck stranded on Route 5, game may be rescheduled


Although the university remained open Wednesday, the Bulls’ scheduled UB Stadium football game was called off.

The football team’s scheduled game against Kent State at UB Stadium Wednesday evening was canceled due to “travel issues” with Kent State’s equipment truck, according to UB Athletics and the Mid-American Conference. The announcement came around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. The truck has been stranded on Route 5 in Hamburg, New York since last night due to road closings caused by Western New York’s massive lake effect snowstorm.

MAC, Buffalo and Kent State officials will hold a conference call Thursday at 8 a.m. to determine whether to reschedule the game or cancel it indefinitely. Jon Fuller, Buffalo Assistant Athletic Director for Communications, said the hope is that the game will be rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 20.

The larger Buffalo area and Southtowns are currently dealing with a snowstorm that began on Tuesday. New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency in several counties. Some areas have experienced more than 60 inches of snow and forecasters expect the snow to continue through Friday morning.

“It’s all about the truck,” Fuller said. “Everyone else is here. If they can’t get the truck here, we’re going to have to come up with a final decision. We’re going to have to see what the weather is like and go from there.”

The Kent State players and coaches arrived at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel in downtown Buffalo at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night via bus. The equipment truck and three team buses all left for Buffalo around 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, but took alternative routes, according to Aaron Chimenti, Kent State’s Athletic Communications assistant director.

The players and coaches took buses on Interstate 86 and 390 through Rochester, New York in order to avoid the storm and road closings. The equipment truck did not take such precautions and instead took Interstate 90, which is currently closed due to the weather conditions.

“The equipment truck, for whatever reason, decided to try and go the regular way through Route 5,” Fuller said. “For whatever reason, they did not take the route the buses took and that is why they are in the situation they’re in.”

Chimenti said the equipment truck normally leaves earlier than the team buses and never travels directly with them. But the equipment truck and team buses left Ohio at the same time Tuesday because both were delayed as Kent State officials determined the best route to travel to Buffalo.

Chimenti estimates the buses drove an additional 150 miles by going through Rochester to avoid the storm. One of the buses got a flat tire shortly after getting on Interstate 390, forcing players and coaches on that bus to combine into the other two.

Both Fuller and Chimenti told The Spectrum early Wednesday afternoon that the equipment bus had been delayed but was currently on its way. Fuller had said he was “99 percent sure they’re going to play” at that time.

“All I know is that it was stuck at one point and then it got out where it was stuck from and then it must have run into some other issues,” Chimenti said.

UB did not cancel classes Wednesday despite the weather, and the game was set to be played had it not been for the issues with Kent State’s equipment truck. On Tuesday, UB Athletics canceled pregame festivities including the Strictly Hips’ pregame Tailgate Concert Series event. Fuller said UB Athletics did not want fans outside “in the cold for that extra time.”

Had the game been played Wednesday, only the West Side 100 and 200 Levels would have been available for seating. Fuller said only those sections were shoveled and UB Athletics did not expect a large turnout due to the weather.

The Plain Dealer reported the MAC mandates teams have a minimum of six days between games. Kent State is scheduled to play Akron Tuesday, Nov. 25. That game will then have to be pushed back if the Buffalo-Kent State game is played this week.

This is the first time a football game at UB Stadium has been postponed since 2006. The Bulls’ game against Miami Ohio was postponed one day from Saturday, Oct. 14, to Sunday, Oct. 15 due to Buffalo’s October Storm.

The Spectrum will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

email: sports@ubspectrum.com