NCAA FBS kicks off 2020 season in Hattiesburg, fans inside stadium
HATTIESBURG, MS - The first game of the 2020 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) season opened Thursday night at the Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles and the South Alabama Jaguars took the field at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.
Even fans were allowed to attend, despite the heightened safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Several COVID-19 sideline protocols were in place, including the following:
- Coaches/Staff required to wear facial coverings
- Increased usage of gloves
- Team bench expanded from 50 to 70 yards
- Individual water bottles/cups
- Enhanced sanitizing and cleaning
- Social distancing
The NCAA claims it will continue to monitor the spread of the coronavirus and make adjustments to these guidelines as needed. Click here for the NCAA's updated response to COVID.
The Association has also established a hotline for college athletes, parents or others to report potential return-to-sport concerns.
During the first game of the 2020-2021 FBS season, small groups of people were sporadically spread around the stadium as social distancing cards were placed along the bleachers.
The energy in the stadium left some fans feeling a sense of normalcy, despite several changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger tweeted about fan commentary and crowd behavior throughout the game. At the end of one tweet, Dellenger wrote in all capital letters, "FOOTBALL IS BACK."
Dellenger also posted a video of the crowd to social media. A roar of cheering and clapping can be heard in the video.
Hey, now, Southern Miss gets on the board and there’s life in The Rock. pic.twitter.com/RZiORqhNJw— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) September 4, 2020
South Alabama took the lead and was up 13-0 in the first quarter. Southern Miss was able to put 10 on the board in the second quarter, putting the score at 13-10 by halftime.