After three consecutive seasons of having to cancel or move a football game in September due to incoming storms from approaching hurricanes, the South Carolina State program left a scheduling window open.
However, the back-to-back open weeks the Bulldogs have (Sept. 21 and Sept. 28) will not accommodate this week's impending visit from Hurricane Dorian.
So at Monday's weekly press conference on the SC State campus, Bulldogs head football coach Buddy Pough was dealing with some uncertainty for the scheduled home game this coming Saturday against Lane College at 4 p.m.
Two days earlier all SC State fans were treated to a 28-13 season-opening win at home against a nationally-ranked Wofford Terriers team. Now, the momentum and excitement from that game might be put on hold, as the Bulldogs adjust to inclement weather forecasts.
With the university shutting down classes on Monday and Tuesday, Pough changed an originally-scheduled Tuesday morning practice to Monday afternoon, keeping the team together and focused for what is still a game week, at this point.
"Here, on Monday, it looks like we're going to do all we can up until maybe Wednesday, and once we get to the point where we know about when the storm is going to hit, we will know more about what we can do," Pough said. "We really don't have a a clue as to what day we can depend on this thing getting here. And it could be hard to get done what we need to do with the schedule we are faced with.
"We're supposed to play Saturday. But, it will be hard to play Saturday if this storm gets to us on Thursday evening."
The excitement from a home win to start the season on Saturday night changed to cautious optimism on Monday, considering the possibilities that storm conditions could impose on this season's schedule so early.
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"Wofford came in here and gave us a chance to win a game, which was good," Pough said. "I think (the win) it says we are farther along, and it says that this team has handled its business up to this point. Getting a win this time of the year is almost unheard of, since we seem to have been on the road for so long, playing guarantee games and so forth. Last year, we were 0-for-September (to start the season 0-4), so to win now is a fun time for us.
"I'm excited for our kids and I'm excited for our fans. The demeanor of our players is unlike anything I've seen before. Everybody seems to be excited that we won a football game early in the year. And, it's a pretty safe bet that we need to win here this weekend."
If SC State is able to play this weekend, the Bulldogs will be facing a Lane College Dragons team from Jackson, Tennessee that plays on the NCAA Division II level in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, but has yet to play a game this season.
Pough, for one, is hoping to keep the season moving along with the second of two home games to start the season, before the Bulldogs head to play at South Florida on September 14 in the only guarantee game ($400,000 paid to the SC State program by the Bulls) of the season.
"What I'd like to do is bottle up what we did against Wofford, fix some of that stuff we had in there, and then take it on into the rest of the season," Pough said. "We did have some of our same issues, but I tell you what, it would be fun to play that way for the rest of the year.
"Other than one key injury, I don't know of much that I can complain about from Saturday. Although we had some issues, let's face it, we need to shut up and be happy."
With the safety of the players and fans across the area as the major concern, the Bulldogs program is pleased to have started the season with a win and is cautiously optimistic that a second-straight home game could be played on schedule this Saturday at 4 p.m.
INJURY NOTE: Although a few Bulldogs players picked up minor injuries during Saturday's season-opening win, one starter endured a knee injury that will require surgery, and missing the opportunity to play for the foreseeable future. Sophomore tailback Tayshawn Baines (Covington, Ga.) left the game late in the first half and returned to the sideline for the second half on crutches, minus his helmet and pads. Further scans on his knee showed the need for surgery. Redshirt juniors Datron James and Labron Morris will look to take the lead at the tailback slot going forward. Each had a touchdown run against Wofford.