Unexpected DJI Mini Drone Halts UMass’ Game Triumph

In an unforeseen twist during last weekend's college football season kickoff, a DJI Mini drone took center stage, temporarily suspending the face-off between UMass and New State.

Saturday night's excitement at the UMass football stadium hit a sudden pause when a DJI Mini drone brazenly flew low across the field. This unexpected interruption came just before State was gearing up for a second-quarter kickoff. Addressing both the spectators at the stadium and viewers tuning in from their screens, on-field officials emphasized, “the drone must leave the stadium enclosure for us to continue the game.”

With the scores tied at 7-7 during the drone's brief cameo, the match later saw UMass claiming a victorious 41-30 win, marking their first season-opening triumph against an FBS contender since 1984. Rewinding to their previous season's clash, New Mexico State had the upper hand with a 23-13 win.

A standout performance by UMass' new quarterback, Taisun Phommachanh, deserves special mention. He showcased a stellar game with 192 yards aerially and an additional 96 yards on foot, even rushing to score a touchdown. In a notable record, UMass' 41 points became the highest they've tallied in a game since November 3, 2018. As the game neared its climax, Minutemen's defensive back, Isaiah Rutherford, sealed their victory with a 57-yard interception touchdown.

After a challenging season where UMass faced 11 losses and celebrated just a single win, this recent success sparks hope for a promising 2023 season.

On a final note, the DJI Mini drone's intrusion highlights a critical reminder about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone regulations. It's vital to recall that “Flying drones in and around stadiums that seat 30,000 people or more is prohibited by law,” starting an hour before and concluding an hour after the scheduled time for significant events like Major League Baseball Games and NCAA Division One Football Games, to name a few.

Separately, the National Football Foundation rules changes for the 2023 College Football Season include a drone policy (Rule 1-4-11-d) that says: “Drones are not allowed over the field or the team area when squad members are present within the playing enclosure. Outside the limit lines, game management (or conference policy) will govern drone activity. This governance includes all FAA, state, and local laws, including campus policy where appropriate.”

Note: based on the photo and video footage, the drone in question seems to be one from the original DJI Mini Series, most likely a .

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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