MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – This was some West Virginia welcome for Dana Holgorsen.
The Mountaineers were victorious in his coaching debut, riding quarterback Geno Smith past Marshall, 34-13, Sunday night when heavy rain, hail and lightning cut the game short with 14:36 left in the fourth quarter. The schools` athletic directors decided after the second of a total of four hours and 22 minutes that it was getting too late, with no letup anticipated in the weather.
The athletic directors had four options, per NCAA rules:
1. Resume the game at a later date.
2. One team forfeits.
3. The final score stays.
4. Declare no contest.
By evening`s end, only a tiny portion of the original crowd of 60,758 at Milan Puskar Stadium remained.
The game initially was halted by nearby lightning at 5:46 p.m., bringing a delay of three hours, four minutes.
During that delay, according to a report on ESPN attributed to West Virginia State Police, a fan was struck by lightning in the second deck of the stadium, in Section 202, shortly after 6 p.m. There was no further word on that fan. Local 911 dispatchers said they never got a call.
Game officials tried for a restart at 8:05 p.m., but that was thwarted by more nearby lightning strike, and the teams were sent back to their locker rooms.
Next, after the National Weather Service assured game officials no more lightning was coming, and play resumed at 8:50. But, at 9:05, nearby lightning chased everyone yet again.
Beer was sold at the stadium for the first time, but sales were cut off at 7:30 p.m.
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