LSU’s football game against Missouri this weekend has been moved from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Columbia, Missouri, due to Hurricane Delta, the Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday morning.
Originally set for 8 p.m. CT in Tiger Stadium, the game will instead kick off at 11 a.m. CT at Memorial Stadium’s Faurot Field. It will be the first time LSU has ever played at Faurot Field in Missouri and just the third time the two teams have met in their history.
Reports of possible relocation became public on Tuesday as the two schools put forth multiple options on the table to move the game. Those reports say Houston’s NRG Stadium, Arlington’s AT&T Stadium and Shreveport’s Independence Stadium were all considered as choices to host aside from Missouri’s campus.
“While we are disappointed to not play in Tiger Stadium this weekend, Hurricane Delta’s current path and the need to play in a venue with SEC COVID-19 protocols in place made this change an absolute necessity,” LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward said yesterday in a statement.
As fans know this is not the first time an LSU football game was relocated due to a natural disaster. In 2015, catastrophic floods wreaked havoc on South Carolina. The Tigers were slated to face the Gamecocks in Columbia, South Carolina, before the game was relocated to Baton Rouge. Wednesday marked the five-year anniversary of that game.
LSU did its part to make it feel like home for South Carolina. The University hosted a joint tailgate for Tiger and Gamecock fans on the Parade Ground. Tiger Stadium also raised South Carolina’s state flag and the team’s flag of the “Block C” logo.
LSU honored South Carolina’s pregame tradition of playing “Sandstorm” by Darude prior to kickoff to accompany a Gamecocks’ hype video on the video boards and PA system.
In fact, South Carolina Associate Athletic Director Charles Bloom urged Missouri to “take care of LSU like LSU took care of us” in a tweet on Wednesday.
The Tigers faced similar circumstances in 2005. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, LSU’s football game against Arizona State was moved from Baton Rouge to Tempe, Arizona. The Tigers, led by then first-year head coach Les Miles, wore their home white jerseys and entered the stadium after the Sun Devils. They were met with cheers from opposing fans.
LSU’s matchup against BYU in 2017 was also relocated from Houston, Texas to New Orleans due to flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. The game was played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
With LSU’s first-ever appearance at Memorial Stadium looming Saturday, there is little doubt that the Tigers will receive a warm welcome from Missouri fans.
“We have been working with the SEC and LSU since Monday when it became apparent that Hurricane Delta could disrupt this weekend’s game and made it known that we would be glad to host the game if it would help out LSU and the Baton Rouge community,” Missouri Director of Athletics Jim Sterk said.
“Our thoughts during this difficult time are with all of those in Louisiana and throughout the Gulf region as they prepare for Hurricane Delta in the upcoming days.”
Relocating football games amid a natural disaster hasn’t always been a smooth process for LSU, either. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew approached Gainesville and the coasts of the southeast as a Category 5, forcing LSU’s game with Florida to be postponed, instantly sparking animosity between the two programs over the handling of the situation by school officials.
The two parties were ultimately able to reschedule the game for later in the season, where Florida left Tiger Stadium victorious, 16-10. The rivalry has been contentious ever since.
Hurricane Delta is currently on track to make landfall in Louisiana on Friday afternoon, strengthening to a Category 4 hurricane in the eyes of meteorologists. But with the No. 17 Tigers coming off a bounce-back performance against Vanderbilt with No. 4 Florida lurking in two weeks, LSU knew it couldn’t afford to lose this game before heading to The Swamp.
By adding an extra curveball into a season that feels anything but normal, Coach Ed Orgeron doesn’t envision much of a change to the team’s normal away game routines. He did say that the Tigers would practice and perform walk-through drills at a convention center in Columbia on Friday.
With a morning kickoff, Orgeron said the team will return to Baton Rouge at 6-7 p.m. on Saturday, a much preferable alternative to the originally scheduled 8 p.m. kickoff, where the Tigers would not have returned home until 4 a.m. on Sunday.
“I think our team and our coaches will get more rest,” Orgeron said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. “I think that was a big advantage for us.”
Saturday will be the fourth LSU game impacted by hurricanes in the last six years. But no matter what challenges and distractions come its way, Orgeron doesn’t want his team to blink.