SOUTH BEND, Ind (AP) — Notre Dame and South Florida returned to the field Saturday after a halftime delay of more than two hours caused by storms that prompted officials to ask fans to evacuate Notre Dame Stadium.
After two storms passed, but with lightning strikes still visible away from the stadium, the teams came back on the field for a 12 1-2 minute warmup period before resuming play. The total delay was 2 hours, 10 minutes. South Florida led 16-0 against a sloppy Irish team that was hurt by turnovers.
Notre Dame made one big change during the long delay. They replaced struggling starting quarterback Dayne Crist with Tommy Rees. Crist, starting for the first time since he suffered the second knee injury of his career last Oct. 30, was just 7-for-15 for 85 yards with an interception in the first half.
At halftime, fans were told they could go to buildings near the stadium to seek refuge. Some of them initially remained in their seats before they were chased out minutes later by a hard rain.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told NBC he met with South Florida officials and both coaches, and they agreed that no video would be watched during the delay. He said that food would be brought in for both teams.
The storm was believed to be the first weather delay in Notre Dame's long football history.