BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The third-ranked LSU Tigers will play their opener against North Texas in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night, marking a victory of sorts for the Baton Rouge area after it was struck by tropical weather from Isaac.
University officials said Thursday afternoon's final determination was made after checking the stadium and consulting with area authorities to ensure the community could handle the anticipated crowd of more than 90,000.
The two schools were motivated to do what they could to get the game in this weekend because they did not have any corresponding open dates the rest of the season.
"Our options are limited as far as opportunities to play this game and there was minimal damage to the stadium, so we are proceeding with the season opener on Saturday night," LSU athletics director Joe Alleva said. "We understand there are portions of the state that are still recovering from the storm and there may be some fans that cannot, for various reasons, make it to Tiger Stadium. We wish those people and everyone adversely affected by the storm our best wishes for a full recovery."
The was some water damage to the Tiger Stadium press box as well as the Stadium Club area, but LSU officials described it as "minimal" and said those areas would be ready for the game.
LSU officials also were continuing to monitor the condition of grass parking lots that were soaked by the storm. Any parking lot closures would be announced later, officials said.
Isaac, which was a hurricane for part of Wednesday before being downgraded to a tropical storm, caused widespread tree and power line damage around the state capital. Much of the city and surrounding areas remained without power Thursday, but some neighborhoods never lost power.
LSU's campus had power and was in good enough condition that officials announced the resumption of classes on Friday.
LSU coach Les Miles said he rode out the hurricane at the football operations building, which is surrounded by athletic fields occupying much of the land between Tiger Stadium and the Mississippi River to the west. Miles said his family was there as well, and that his sons, Manny and Ben, wakeboarded through a flooded ditch during calmer moments of the storm while he towed them with a four-wheel utility vehicle.