Florida International U

FIU Panthers’ game against Louisville delayed by lightning

FIU fans watch as they play Louisville in the rain at Ocean Bank Field at FIU Stadium in Miami, Florida, September 20, 2014.
FIU fans watch as they play Louisville in the rain at Ocean Bank Field at FIU Stadium in Miami, Florida, September 20, 2014. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

For the second consecutive week, lightning cleared out FIU Stadium during an afternoon home game.

Instead of interrupting the game, as was the case during FIU’s loss to Pitt last Saturday, the lightning delayed the start of Saturday’s game by 1 hour 14 minutes.

That probably gave those coming to the game from the north or east time to get to the game. Construction on State Road 836 Westbound cut traffic down to one lane at Northwest 57th Avenue, snarling 836 west; LeJeune Road from Miami International Airport down to Northwest 7th Street; Flagler Street and Southwest 8th Street from LeJeune to State Road 826.

What the delay also got the game bumped from Fox Sports 1 to Fox Sports 2 for the second week in a row. When FIU-Louisville ran past 7p.m., a scheduled baseball game moved the FIU game to Fox Sports 2. FIU-Pitt got lateraled to Fox Sports 2 during its lightning delay.

“I haven’t been in South Florida a long time, but, hopefully, we won’t be scheduling too many September 3:30 games,” FIU coach Ron Turner said. “Play either at noon or at night. I do know one thing, the storms tend to come in during the afternoon. [Friday and Saturday] were pretty much bad the whole day.”

NEW PUNTER

Argentine rugby player Jose Laphitzondo replaced Chris Ayers as FIU’s punter. Laphitzondo averaged 40.3 yards per punt on his 10 punts, usually using the rugby style. His 403 yards were the fifth most yards punted in a game in FIU history.

His one bad punt went out of bounds at the FIU 46 after 32 yards with FIU down 21-0. Louisville scored two plays later to take a 28-0 lead.

Redshirt junior Richard Leonard returned four kickoffs for 121 yards, leaving his average at 33.2 yards per return after six returns, just ahead of T.Y. Hilton’s school-record 30.44 set in 2011. Leonard averaged 29.15 yards, second to Hilton for a full season, in 2012.

THIS AND THAT

▪ Junior defensive end Michael Wakefield picked up two more sacks, three more tackles for loss and forced a fumble. He now leads FIU in tackles for loss (6.5), sacks (4.5), fumbles forced (two) and fumbles recovered (two).

▪ FIU freshman running back Napoleon Maxwell made his first game appearance, running for 10 yards on three carries.

▪ The announced attendance Saturday, the last of FIU’s season-opening quartet of home games, was 10,826. FIU, which came into the game ranking No.119 in average announced attendance, averaged 11,251.75 in the four games.

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