Lightning forces another college football evacuation

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 04, 2011 9:28 PM
Lightning forces another college football evacuation

By Karin Matz

CHICAGO (Reuters) - More than 50,000 fans were forced to clear West Virginia University's football stadium on Sunday as severe weather rolled through, the third evacuation because of severe weather this weekend.

The game in Morgantown, West Virginia, was delayed at least three hours.

"A big storm came through," said Mike Fragale, West Virginia Assistant Athletic Director for Communications.

He said lightning was seen close by, and the field and stands at Milan Puskar Stadium were cleared with just about five minutes left in the third quarter.

West Virginia was leading in-state rival Marshall 27 to 13 at the time. The game was halted again early in the fourth quarter.

"We haven't had a lightning delay since 1991," Fragale said.

More storms moved through the area delaying the game further because there must be 30 minutes with no lightning for play to resume.

On Saturday, lightning strikes forced the University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame to clear their football stadium seats.

Michigan cleared its massive 110,000-seat stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the third quarter and the team leading Western Michigan 34-10. The teams later agreed to end the game there.

The Notre Dame-South Florida football game was suspended twice. South Florida eventually won 23 to 20.

(Additional reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune)