As Hurricane Florence continues to threaten most of the south Atlantic coast, the college football schedule has been put in flux as reschedulings and cancellations have run rampant over the last two days.
Any schedule is still tentative as the temperamental hurricane still hasn’t settled on a definite course inland, but as of Thursday morning the game between Georgia Southern and Clemson at Clemson has been rescheduled for noon on Saturday, up from its original 3:30 p.m. start time.
With South Carolina, North Carolina, N.C. State and other notable schools in the region canceling games altogether, the Eagles and Tigers are the only FBS game still scheduled to be played on Saturday throughout Virginia and both of the Carolinas.
The game is still subject to continued changes in the storm and emergency management actions, but the Eagles look like they’ll have their shot at the No. 2 team in the nation.
All of the players are excited for the opportunity, but for some, it means a bit more.
Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts played his high school football in Newberry, S.C., just over an hour’s drive from the Clemson campus.
During a Tuesday press conference, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney doled out compliments and even mentioned that the Tigers had offered Werts a scholarship as an athlete before he took up the Eagles on a chance to play quarterback.
“It’s definitely going to be a special game,” Werts said. “I’m going to have a lot of friends and family watching. This is a team that I watched growing up and that I saw myself playing for. Obviously, I’m happy with where I am and what we’re doing here, but this is still going to be a special game.”
Players have kept a straight face around the locker room this week, but as doubts arose about the possibility of getting this week’s game in, some social media posts made it clear that playing at Clemson is a high priority.
The coaching staff is also excited for the opportunity to play against one of the best teams in the nation, but they were also keeping things strictly business.
“We control what we can control, and obviously a hurricane is something that we can’t control,” GS coach Chad Lunsford said. “We’ll leave it up to the people at Clemson to work out when and if things happen. Right now, we’re just concerned with getting ready to play a ballgame.”
Both schools have been in constant communication on possible contingency plans. The sides have worked together well, but the real trouble has come from a hurricane that seems to defy every projected path that has been forecast.
Clemson originally looked to be spared from much of the worst weather, causing the kickoff time to hold steady as schools in North Carolina and along the coast made early cancellations. Beginning Tuesday night and heading into Wednesday morning, new models showed a change in course that could aim directly at Clemson. The latest projections still call for Clemson to receive a good portion of the expected torrential downpours, but the storm is also now expected to be slow in making its way inland, allowing for Saturday’s game to be played.