Chuck Finder | 10:34 a.m. Sept. 6
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Game on.
East Carolina University officials announced moments ago this morning that they plan to play their home football date with eighth-ranked West Virginia at 4:30 p.m. today as scheduled, despite the back end of counter-clockwise Tropical Storm Hanna still churning through central and east North Carolina.
"Because of the likelihood of possible wind gusts remaining in the wake of Tropical Storm Hanna," officials said in the announcement, they will continue to enforce parking alterations revealed Thursday and a no-tent policy while also encouraging fans to "exercise caution driving to the game."
About 3,000 customers in the Greenville area reportedly are without electricity amid 30-plus mph gusts and a mist that still afflict the area. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium itself sustained no apparent damage, and the field looks soggy but not puddled from two to four inches of rainfall locally. However, the storm's mild power is evident in the parking lots on the stadium's east side: small limbs, tree branches and an abundance of leaves littered the ground barely an hour ago, and 17 of 20 portable johns were blown onto their sides. One stadium worker, who said ECU officials informed employees that the quick-moving front could completely blow through and sunny skies return by gametime, advised that those mobile bathrooms for fans were of little concern -- he pointed to a half-dozen replacements waiting under cover beneath the stands.
About a two-and-a-half-hour's drive north in Richmond, Va., where Hanna's center passed by mid-morning, NASCAR officials a day earlier postponed their races until Sunday.
3:50 p.m. update: Sunshine, clearing skies and a rather dry-looking field greeted the Pirates and Mountaineers in warmups, but West Virginia again will be without senior middle linebacker Reed Williams, who didn't dress while recovering from offseason shoulders surgery that may well get him a medical redshirt and yet another season of eligibility. Going by warmups, Gateway's Mortty Ivy will start at middle linebacker and John Holmes will assume Ivy's old spot at strongside linebacker.