Weather Doesn't Slow UGA

ATHENS - For the second September in a row, Georgia dealt with stormy weather that caused a game to be delayed.

This time it also marked an early end to a 51-14 season-opening victory over Louisiana-Monroe.

The school’s athletic directors and head coaches jointly agreed to “terminate the game,” at Sanford Stadium after sitting through one lightning delay of about an hour and then another coming with 9:54 to go.

“When the second (lightning) delay, I was like, `Ahh, man, here we go again,’” Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd said, “but they called the game and a win is a win.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt called the decision, which also involved huddling with referee Hubert Owens, the “wise thing to do. I think everyone was fine with that. It would have been nice to continue to play only because we were getting ready to play a lot of young players. We had already made the substitutions on defense when the game ended.”

Said UGA athletic director Greg McGarity: “Both coaches just didn’t want to risk any injury for warming up three times on a day early in the season. They all understood the game was well in hand.” Georgia’s game last season at South Carolina was delayed 86 minutes at the start on Sept. 13, 2014 because of lightning on a stormy afternoon.

This time the delay happened with 8:35 left in the third quarter when lightning was detected within five miles of the stadium. By rule, that triggers a half hour delays and teams must leave the field.

There was none spotted above the stadium when the announcement came at 2:11 p.m. Heavy rain came 31 minutes later while the players were still in the locker room.

“We were in here drinking Powerade, eating Chick-fil-A, beef jerky and getting stretched,” said Floyd, who tied for the team lead with eight tackles.

Richt said some ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The teams returned to the field at 3:03 p.m and the game restarted at 3:12.

“We’ve got to be safe,” Richt said. “Back in the day, you’d hold a cat out and if the cat didn’t get wet, you’d practice. Nowadays you’ve got this radar and if you get one strike within a certain mileage, you’re guaranteed shut down for 30 minutes.”

Georgia talked about changing the momentum that had shifted some before the delay and did by outscoring the Warhawks 16-0 the rest of the way.

“I definitely wanted to go out there and make more plays,” receiver Malcolm Mitchell said.


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