Pac-12 After Dark went to another level after a nearly 3-hour weather delay
The season opener between Arizona State and Southern Utah ended well after midnight when a lengthy lightning delay paused the game at halftime
The phrase “Pac-12 After Dark” has become popular among college football fans, particularly out West, with the conference’s numerous late-night games each season.
Arizona State, though, took that phrase to another level on Thursday night in its season-opening matchup against Southern Utah, all thanks to a lengthy weather delay.
The Sun Devils ended up beating the Thunderbirds 24-21, holding off SUU in the final quarter.
The game was delayed at halftime, though, due to lightning in the area. The weather delay lasted two hours, 45 minutes and caused the game to finish at 1 a.m. local time Friday morning in Tempe, Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic — or 4 a.m. on the East Coast.
The uncertainty surrounding just how long it would take for the game to resume was reflected in updates from Arizona State football’s social media account on X, formerly Twitter:
To the fans in attendance, the weather in the area is temporarily delaying the start of the second half. We ask that you leave the stadium and seek shelter. We will give another update in 30 minutes.— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) September 1, 2023
Lightning strikes continue within 8 miles. Currently at least 45 minutes before we can get players on the field or allow fans back in the stands.— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) September 1, 2023
Weather is still in the area, we will have a new update at 10:45.— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) September 1, 2023
We have no new information provide. When we get a new update we will provide it. We apologize for the inconvenience.— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) September 1, 2023
The news we’ve all been waiting for!— Sun Devil Football (@ASUFootball) September 1, 2023
After an eight minute warmup we will start the second half! Fans if you left Mountain America Stadium, you can come back in!
Arizona State cooled off after the delay — the Sun Devils went into halftime leading 21-7 and in control after a 47-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with five minutes left in the second quarter gave ASU a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
SUU didn’t go away, capping a 70-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown catch from Zach Mitchell in the final minute of the third quarter.
After Arizona State added a field goal to go up 24-14, SUU blocked a punt and George Ramirez returned it 47 yards for a touchdown to make it 24-21 with 7:50 to play.
From there, though, ASU did enough to keep the Thunderbirds from seriously threatening to take the lead.
For Southern Utah, it’s the first of two games against FBS opponents to start the year. The Thunderbirds play at BYU on Sept. 9.