Many fans in The Tribune-Democrat’s coverage area couldn’t watch Akron’s 35-3 win over Kent State on Thursday morning because ESPNU is not available to most local residents.

But, then again, many fans that were actually at the game couldn’t see what was happening throughout much of the contest.

Played in bitterly cold conditions with heavy snowfall and winds gusting up to 36 mph, it was not a game for the faint-hearted.

The weather was actually much more exciting than the game, as it featured a number of rare sights, even though a Kent State loss has become old hat for the Golden Flashes’ fans.

Sure, Akron clinched a spot in the Mid-American Conference’s title game with the win, as well as laying claim to the Wagon Wheel trophy that the teams play for.

And Brett Biggs’ performance in the win, which included 149 rushing yards, 31 receiving yards and 27 passing yards, was impressive – especially on a day when Kent State only managed 109 yards of total offense.

But it was the weather that will be remembered most. Neither team has a national reputation, so it probably won’t get a nickname. Besides, the “Snow Bowl” and “Ice Bowl” already were taken. Perhaps this one should have been named the “Too-Darn-Cold-And-Ugly-To-Play Bowl.”

The temperature was between 15 and 20 degrees for much of the game, but gusting winds dropped the wind chill to about 2 degrees. A combination of snow showers and the swirling winds of the antiquated Rubber Bowl made it nearly impossible to see early in the game.

Akron’s cheerleaders normally carry flags spelling out the school name after each score, but they abandoned that practice early on Thursday. A pregame lap proved that raising the flags was nearly impossible, and they could only spell A-K-R-O for much of the trip around the field.

The cheerleaders did redeem themselves a few minutes later. After Brian Stokes scooped up a Kent State fumble and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown, the cheerleaders made snow angels in the end zone to the delight of dozens of fans.

There were so few fans present that rather than announce the attendance, Akron thanked the fans by name. OK, so it wasn’t quite that bad. But it also wasn’t anywhere near the 8,942 announced by Akron.

The few fans on the Kent State side of the field huddled at the ends of rows, using the stadium walls to block the bone-chilling winds.

It was so cold that fans booed when an official announced that the game would be delayed for a few minutes for a media timeout.

At least they could hear him at that point. Early in the game, the winds made such a racket when the microphone was turned on that it was nearly impossible to discern who the penalty was called on.

The action on the field was also affected on a number of occasions. Players slipped and fell with no one around them. Passing was almost impossible and punts headed into the wind died a quick death.

But the strangest play came on a punt with the wind. Akron coach J.D. Brookhart called on Akron quarterback Luke Getsy, a transfer from Pitt, for a quick-kick from the Kent State 43-yard line. He hit it well, as the ball bounced inside the 20 before finally coming to rest at the 5-yard line. The Zips were not quick to pounce on it, however, and a gust of wind started the ball rolling. It kept rolling and picked up speed before the Zips finally downed it inside the 1

A decade from now, 10,000 Akron fans will recall how they were there to see it – even if they couldn’t actually see it.

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