What a Difference a Night Makes

The stadium's grounds crew worked around the clock

By Michelle Wayland, Greg Bledsoe and Jeff Nguyen
|  Thursday, Dec 23, 2010  |  Updated 8:51 PM PDT
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Aerial Tour of Mission Valley Flooding

NBC San Diego

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What a Difference a Night Makes

The stadium's grounds crew worked around the clock

Crews Rush to Prep Stadium for Bowl Game

At Qualcomm Stadium, crews worked through the night to prepare the city's stadium for the high-profile Poinsettia Bowl set to kick off at 5 p.m. Thursday.
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If you saw the pictures of Qualcomm Stadium on Wednesday, you may have been a little skeptical as to whether the Poinsettia Bowl game would actually be played Thursday night.

By Thursday afternoon, it was a much different story.

A special pump was brought in to help remove 1-million gallons of water from the field of Qualcomm Stadium, according to the executive director of the Poinsettia Bowl.

Fans who saw the difference on Thursday were impressed to say the least.

"I can't believe they did it. I can't believe it. I saw it on the news last night and I thought we flew 2,000 miles for this ballgame and we are coming to a swimming match," said Navy fan Lela Bryan.

The pump was still working on areas, like the tunnels, to remove water on Thursday morning.

The Poinsettia Bowl's executive director says the game between Navy and San Diego State will go on as scheduled Thursday night.

"Never, never a consideration," Bruce Binkowski said, when asked if he thought about postponing the game.

The stadium was flooded Wednesday with water from several days of heavy rain.

“We've never had this much water on the stadium floor. Ever. This is new territory for us,” said stadium manager Mike McSweeney on Wednesday.

Wastewater crews from the city of San Diego worked through the night pumping out the water.

51,000 tickets have been sold for the game. It is expected to be the largest crowd in the history of the Poinsettia Bowl.

There are still some areas of the parking lot that are either flooded or too big of a mess for people to park, so there is limited parking. Off-site parking is being offered at San Diego state.

Even though the field looks great from a distance, there is still the issue of how it will perform.

"I think our biggest concern is we don't know how the field will play. It's playable, but we don't know how slippery it'll be and it may not be at all. We're just going to have to find out by tonight," said Binkowski.

Taxpayers will not be stuck the cleanup bill. The Poinsettia Bowl itself will pick up that cost. Organizers said it's too early to know the final tally, but Binkowski said it was worth every penny.

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