The Latest: Tennessee gives out free tickets to evacuees
The Latest on how Hurricane Florence has impacted the college football weekend: (all times local):
Tennessee distributed 1,067 free tickets to its game with UTEP to Hurricane Florence evacuees from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Volunteers athletic director Phillip Fulmer had announced Wednesday that evacuees would get free tickets as long as they provided IDs showing they’re from counties under evacuation orders. Ticket distribution started at 8:30 a.m. for the noon game.
Tenea Strayhorn of Beaufort, North Carolina, said the game provided a “perfect distraction” that allowed evacauees to think about something other than the storm for a few hours.
Ricky Hughes of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, wore a Clemson hat and Coastal Carolina T-shirt to Neyland Stadium but said that “we’re Tennessee fans today, you can believe that 100 percent.”
No. 2 Clemson and Georgia Southern got a sunny sky, mild breezes and plenty of tailgaters for the only major conference football game being played Saturday in the Carolinas and Virginia while Florence, now a tropical storm, dumped dangerous amounts of rain elsewhere across the region.
Clemson officials moved up the start time to noon from 3:30 p.m. because forecasts called for a more significant impact from Florence to occur Saturday night and Sunday.
Around Memorial Stadium, it looked like a typical football atmosphere of orange-clad fans and tailgate tents all over. Not everything was the same, however, with temperatures in the 80s and light breezes sweeping the campus, which is about 250 miles from the coast.
Every other major school in the three-state region called off or relocated games earlier in the week as Florence, once a Category 4 monster, churned in the Atlantic Ocean.
More than 2 feet of rain already had fallen in places, and the drenching continued as Florence, a hurricane-turned-tropical storm, practically parked itself over the Carolinas. Forecasters said the torrents could continue for days, touching off disastrous flooding. At least four people have died, and authorities fear the toll will go higher.
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