Monday, August 28, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Lightning, thunder zap BCA Classic

The Associated Press

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Michael Vick was upstaged by Mother Nature.

Lightning and severe thunderstorms rolled through the Blacksburg area last night, forcing postponement of the BCA Classic between No. 11 Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

Just as the Hokies were about to kick off, and with a sellout crowd of 56,276 cheering, thunder rumbled overhead at Lane Stadium, followed by lightning and finally heavy rains that soaked the field within 30 minutes.

Jim Weaver, the Virginia Tech athletic director, announced that the game had been postponed, adding he and Georgia Tech AD David Braine would try to reschedule the game, perhaps for Friday, Dec. 1.

"I think the right decision was made because I think when you play on a field that bad, there's a chance players will get hurt," Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said. "It's a shame, though."

It was the first weather postponement of a Division I-A game since the UCLA-Miami game was wiped out by the threat of Hurricane Georges on Sept. 26, 1998. The game was played on Dec. 5, and had national-championship implications.

The Bruins, 10-0 at the time, were beaten by the Hurricanes 49-45 and lost their chance to play for the national title in the Fiesta Bowl.

But while that game was a regularly scheduled game, the Yellow Jackets-Hokies game was a 12th game on the schedule. Weaver and Braine will spend the week trying to decide whether to reschedule or cancel the game.

"We will talk about the possibility of rescheduling, of maybe playing the first weekend in December," Weaver said.

Braine said the reason he agreed to the game was to give new quarterback George Godsey some experience before the ACC schedule began. He also added that the Yellow Jackets play rival Georgia on Nov. 25.

"I don't think it's a good idea," Braine said. "Our reasons for playing a preseason game were because we had an inexperienced quarterback. He will have 11 games by then."

Braine said teams won't get the $600,000 they were promised if the game isn't played, but added: "We didn't play this game for money anyway."

Beamer said the money his school would get was earmarked for new turf and a drainage system at Lane Stadium.

"Kind of ironic, isn't it?" Beamer said.

The ADs also decided not to play today since both teams have games Saturday.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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