Severe weather forces cancellation of Akron-Nebraska, South Dakota State-Iowa State

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The season-opening Akron-Nebraska game was canceled Saturday night because of severe weather. It has not been rescheduled.

A lightning strike near Memorial Stadium forced officials to halt play immediately after the opening kickoff, a touchback received by the host Cornhuskers.

Many of the fans among the NCAA-record 362nd consecutive sellout remained in the stadium for two hours until an approaching severe thunderstorm prompted a mandatory evacuation into the concourses and campus buildings.

Despite oppressive heat and humidity Saturday afternoon, the stadium filled 30 minutes before kickoff for one of the most anticipated openers in program history. First-year coach Scott Frost, a former national champion Nebraska quarterback who directed UCF to a perfect season in 2017, led the Huskers onto the field, ending nine months of anticipation for a hungry fan base.

Or so they thought.

"Everyone associated with last night's season opener is disappointed that the weather did not cooperate and we were unable to play the game," Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said in a statement released Sunday. "We were dealing with a fluid situation, and at all times we were operating with public safety as our number one concern."

Moos said that during the delay, there was discussion of moving the game to Sunday, but that idea was ultimately scrapped due to "some logistical challenges" for Akron.

According to Moos, fans are encouraged to keep their tickets from Saturday night's contest in the event that a game is added later in the season.

Weather permitting, fans will get their chance to see Frost and his team next week, when Colorado visits Memorial Stadium.

Severe weather also resulted in the cancellation of the South Dakota State-Iowa State game in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones were up 7-0 in the first quarter before the game was called. There are no immediate plans to reschedule it.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard wrote in a letter posted on the school's website that the game will not be rescheduled because Iowa State and South Dakota State do not share a common bye week, except for Dec. 1, which falls during championship week. Instead, Iowa State is looking for a possible opponent to play on its bye (Oct. 20) or on Dec. 1, if the Cyclones aren't playing for the Big 12 championship.

"The challenge is the opponent would need to be available to play (not scheduled to play on one of those dates) and eligible to play (either experienced a cancellation or did not schedule a full slate of games this year). Needless to say it will be difficult to find an opponent that meets those requirements and is interested in coming to Ames," he wrote.

Bad weather resulted in delays across the country at Ohio State, Maryland, the Air Force Academy in Colorado and the West Virginia-Tennessee game played in Charlotte, North Carolina. Virginia's home opener against Richmond was delayed 40 minutes.

Liberty University's first FBS win came after a two-hour weather delay. North Carolina A&T and East Carolina's season-opening game in Greenville, North Carolina, was postponed until Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.