BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Michael Vick was upstaged by Mother
Lightning and severe thunderstorms rolled through the Blacksburg
area Sunday night, forcing postponement of the BCA Classic between
No. 10 Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
Just as the Hokies were about to kick off, and with a sellout
crowd of 56,276 cheering, thunder rumbled overhead at Lane Stadium,
followed by lightning and finally heavy rains that soaked the field
within 30 minutes.
At 9:08 p.m., Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver
announced that the game had been postponed, adding he and Georgia
Tech athletic director David Braine would try to reschedule the
game, perhaps on Friday, Dec. 1.
"I think the right decision was made because I think when you
play on a field that bad there's a chance players will get hurt,"
Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "It's a shame, though."
It was the first weather postponement of a Division I-A game
since the Temple-Miami game was wiped out by the threat of Hurricane Irene on Oct. 15, 1999. The game was rescheduled for Dec. 4, with Miami winning 55-0.
The UCLA-Miami game from Sept. 26, 1998 was wiped out by the threat of Hurricane
Georges. The game was played Dec. 5 -- and had national championship implications.
The Bruins, 10-0 at the time, were beaten by the Hurricanes
49-45 and lost their chance to play for the national title in the
But while that one was a regularly scheduled game, the Yellow
Jackets-Hokies game was a 12th game on the schedule. Weaver and
Braine will spend the week trying to decide whether to reschedule
or just cancel the game altogether.
"We will talk about the possibility of rescheduling, of maybe
playing the first weekend in December," Weaver said.
Braine said the reason he agreed to the game was to give new
quarterback George Godsey some experience before the ACC schedule
began. He also added that the Yellow Jackets play rival Georgia on
"I don't think it's a good idea," Braine said. "Our reasons
for playing a preseason game were because we had an inexperienced
quarterback. He will have 11 games by then."
Braine said teams won't get the $600,000 they were promised if
the game isn't played, but added: "We didn't play this game for
Beamer said the money his school would get was earmarked for new
turf and a drainage system at Lane Stadium.
"Kind of ironic, isn't it?" Beamer said.
The ADs also decided not to play the game Monday since both
teams have games Saturday -- the Hokies are home to Akron; the
Yellow Jackets play host to Central Florida.
Now it's the Zips who will be on the other side of the football
when Vick finally takes the field to open the 2000 season. The
sensational sophomore is coming off a season in which he finished
third in the Heisman Trophy voting after leading the Hokies into
the national title game.
The decision to postpone the game was made by both ADs, referee
Dan Blum and game organizers.
When the storm hit Sunday night, players, officials and
photographers dashed off the field and headed for shelter. The
Yellow Jackets stood under a tent and makeshift garage, the Hokies
in a small tunnel. Both teams eventually ran across the field to
the tunnel leading to the locker rooms.
"I thought the Jumbotron was making the noise at first,"
Hokies running back Lee Suggs said, referring to the new video
scoreboard. "Then I looked up and saw the lightning."
By 9 p.m., and with the rain intensifying, most of the crowd had
Dave Smith, Virginia Tech's sports information director, has
been with the school for 26 years and said he couldn't recall a
home game being delayed by lightning or postponed.
"I was really looking forward to playing this game," Georgia
Tech coach George O'Leary said. "We had been called off the field
for lightning before, but we had always been called back."
On Oct. 17, 1999, the start of the second half of the BYU at New
Mexico game was delayed by lightning for 43 minutes.
Both teams had been in lightning delays before -- the Hokies at
West Virginia on Oct. 5, 1991; the Yellow Jackets against Florida
on Sept. 20, 1980.
|Officials huddle under a tent as fans wait out a delay prior to the start of the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech BCA game. The game was postponed and not immediately rescheduled.||
COLLEGE FOOTBALL Scoreboard
Georgia Tech Clubhouse
Virginia Tech Clubhouse
Corso finds out Mother Nature is a Hokies fan
Tech-nical difficulties: Vick too scary
Lightning storms forced the postponement of the BCA Classic.
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RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1
An upset Michael Vick was ready to start the season on a high note.
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RealAudio: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6
Coach Frank Beamer felt it was a good decision to cancel the game.
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RealAudio: 14.4 | 28.8 | 56.6