Posted on: September 4, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2011 7:29 pm

West Virginia - Marshall suspended for lightning

Posted by Chip Patterson

For the fifth time in this opening weekend of college football, a game has been suspended due to inclement weather. With 4:59 remaining in the third quarter, game officials stopped West Virginia and Marshall after lightning was spotted less than six miles from the stadium.

The fans were instructed to leave the stadium and seek temporary shelter, while the teams returned to their locker room. According to regulations, 30 minutes must pass with no lightning spotted in a six-mile radius of the stadium. Once the teams have been cleared to resume play, there will reportedly be a 5-minute warm up period before re-starting the action.

The lightning report came directly after West Virginia dealt their own strike thanks to a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown from speedy wideout Tavon Austin. The Thundering Herd had just turned a 4th down stop into a field goal, cutting the Mountaineers lead to 20-13, before Austin answered with his highlight reel return.

Quarterback Geno Smith has been the most impressive aspect of West Virginia's highly-touted offense. The junior has competed 22 of 30 passes for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He as spread the ball around to eight different receivers, often being forced to create an opportunity by extending the play with his feet. Marshall has stuffed the Mountaineers running game, holding all rushers to 30 yards on a combined 20 attempts.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 6:35 pm

Lightning delays at Michigan, Notre Dame, Tenn.

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In early Saturday action, lightning strikes forced a prolonged delay in Iowa's game against Tennessee Tech. That game ended up being delayed for about an hour and a half as the inclement weather passed through before Iowa finished its 34-7 victory.

The state of Iowa's not the only place with stormy weather in the Midwest today, and separate storms are forcing delays at two other storied stadiums. At approximately 5:20 ET, lightning forced a delay in South Bend as Notre Dame and South Florida were at halftime. South Florida led that game 16-0 at the break. A few minutes later, in Ann Arbor, officials suspended the Western Michigan-Michigan game as well, with Michigan ahead 20-7 at the half.

Action resumed at Michigan after the mandated 30 minutes, but that game would be suspended again after less than half an hour, when stronger storms moved into the area, and lightning began striking again. Officially, the Michigan game was re-suspended at 6:19, and it might not resume until well after 7:00.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame continues to be suspended, and that delay may be the longest of the day. At 6:10 local time, Notre Dame RapidReporter Mike Hutton reported that a stronger storm was due to hit the area in 15-30 minutes, and that a determination about the future of the game would be made during the storm. In other words, calling the game for the rest of the day is on the table, though obviously game officials want to avoid that fate at all reasonable costs. The Notre Dame delay should be considered indefinite.

Down in Knoxville, there's bad weather there too; Tennessee was set to face Montana at 7:07 eastern (6:07 local), but as of 6:24, there were storms with high winds and lightning in the area, and Neyland is currently under evacuation. There's no determination yet as to when that game will start, but "on time" is not an option here.

NCAA rules mandate that such suspensions last for half an hour after the last observed lightning strike in the area, so the time of a delay can rack up pretty quickly if the storms aren't moving fast or if multiple cells hit the area within a half-hour of each other.

All in all, that's four weather delays in four different states -- two of which (Iowa, Tennessee) don't even touch any of the other three states. Also, none of the delays are related to Tropical Storm Lee, which is making landfall in Louisiana today. Quite a day of weather.

Posted on: April 5, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 1:12 pm

Gruden's plane hit by lightning on way to Chicago

Posted by Tom Fornelli

THAT GUY who currently spends his time on ESPN in the Monday Night Football booth talking about FOOTBALL PLAYERS, and was once rumored to be the new head coach at Miami, had a scary experience on Thursday night. Jon Gruden was on a plane bound for Chicago because he had agreed to take part in the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Clinic with Illinois coach Ron Zook. Only Gruden never made it to Chicago, as his plane was hit by lightning when it was only twenty minutes out of Tampa.

"All of a sudden, the woman next to me asked, 'Did you hear something?' " Gruden told The Tampa Tribune. "I told her I definitely heard a weird noise. You could sense something was up. Then the flight attendant came on the speaker and said we got hit by lightning."

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Orlando where fire trucks waited in case anything went wrong. You know, besides that whole being hit by lightning thing. Gruden then called Zook from the tarmac and explained to him that he wouldn't be making the clinic, which is probably not the first time Ron Zook was told by someone that they couldn't make an event with him because they'd been struck by lightning, only this time it was the truth. Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino took Gruden's place, and Gruden promised that he'd speak at the clinic next year.

Gruden then decided to drive home from Orlando back to Tampa in a rental car, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's how he chooses to get to Champaign next season as well.
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