COLUMBIA, S.C. - Just as Georgia and South Carolina were settling into Saturday's game, Hanna stole the spotlight. Bringing dark clouds, stiff winds, rain and, most significantly, lighting, the tropical storm moved over the stadium and forced officials to call a halt to play just over five minutes into the game. The delay lasted 52 minutes. Officials first huddled to discuss the weather with 10:18 left in the first quarter. Then, at the 9:24 mark - about 3:50 p.m. - they suspended play with Georgia leading 3-0 and South Carolina facing a third-and-13 play from its 46-yard line.
After a big lightning strike and clap of thunder only about five minutes later, power went out at Williams-Brice Stadium. Players began returning to the field at 4:25 p.m. Teams were given about 15 minutes to warm up before play was resumed. CBS filled time by showing the opening minutes of the second half of the 2 001 Florida-Tennessee game.
No Georgia officials at the game, including athletics director Vince Dooley, could remember the last time a Georgia game had been delayed by weather. Dooley has been at Georgia since 1964, when he began his 25 years as head coach. "I don't think they were as conscious of those things then as they are now,'' Dooley said. The last time a South Carolina game at Williams-Brice Stadium was delayed by weather was Sept. 9, 1972, when the Gamecocks lost to Virginia after a delay of 40 minutes.
- Take the ball: Normally, Georgia coach Mark Richt will defer to the second half if his team wins the opening coin toss. Saturday's decision was altered by the approaching weather. With the field still dry, he wanted the ball. "I thought the second-half kickoff might be in a monsoon,'' Richt said. Taking the ball, Richt's first call was for a deep pass from David Greene to Fred Gibson, good for 52 yards to the South Carolina 12. Though the drive stalled at the 5 and Georgia settled for a field goal, that 3-0 lead held until the second half.
- Davis a captain: Senior cornerback and special teams standout Ryan Davis of Columbus served as one of the four team captains for the first time in his career. He made good on the honor by delivering the first big special teams play of the game, recovering a South Carolina fumble on a punt return at the Gamecocks' 12-yard line. Unfortunately for Georgia, the Bulldogs quickly gave the ball back on a fumble by freshman tailback Tyson Browning. "I just thank Coach Richt and the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to be a captain,'' Davis said. "This was a total team effort - offense, defense and special teams. We were talking team the whole two weeks we were preparing for this game.'' Davis was special teams captain. Davis opened the season with three tackles against Clemson, the high total of any Georgia cornerback. Other game-day captains for Georgia were offensive guard Kevin Breedlove, linebacker Boss Bailey and tight end Ben Watson. Breedlove and Watson are South Carolina natives.
- Elmore held out: Freshman defensive end Marquis Elmore traveled with the team but was not in uniform for the game. Elmore, who moved from linebacker, has had only one week at defensive end and less than two full weeks of practice since joining practice after arthroscopic back surgery the first week of August.
- Gilbert is No. 42 again: Senior linebacker Tony Gilbert of Macon honored teammate David Jacobs by wearing Jacobs' No. 99 in the season-opening win over Clemson. While wearing No. 99, however, Gilbert suffered a sprained ankle that kept him out of practice for a week. Perhaps in part because some players are superstitious about such things, Gilbert was back in his own No. 42 Saturday as he started at middle linebacker. Jacobs, whose career ended last season due to a stroke, traveled with the team and was with his teammates for pregame warmups, as he often is during practice. Jacobs would have been a senior this year. Though the stroke ended his career, he has made a strong recovery and is serving as a student assistant coach with the team while also working as a volunteer assistant with the Clarke Central High School team in Athens.
- Worth noting: University of Georgia president Dr. Michael Adams was at the game and was chatting on the field Dooley before pregame warmups. ... Offensive tackle George Foster is still a few weeks away from playing as he continues to recover from a broken wrist suffered in a car accident before the season. Foster traveled with the team and was on the field, wearing street clothes, during pregame warmups.