Rutgers-Tulane game on at Superdome as scheduled

Last Updated: Thu, Aug 30, 2012 22:32 hrs

-Tulane football game will be played Saturday night in the Superdome, only days after Isaac swept across the New Orleans area with hurricane-force winds.

"We have concluded it is not only appropriate to move ahead with this event but essential to show the nation the resolve and resiliency of our community when faced with enormous adversity," Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson said Thursday.

The Superdome sustained only superficial damage to surrounding signs, banners and landscaping.

Doug Thornton, an executive with SMG, the company that manages the state-owned Superdome, said the stadium never lost power and its roof never leaked. He noted key Superdome personnel were returning to work Thursday to get the stadium ready to host college football.

Although the dome was in good shape Wednesday night, Tulane officials waited on a final decision to play until evaluating the condition of the community and confirming the airport would be ready for Rutgers' charter flight on Friday.

Louis Armstrong International Airport lost power during the storm, which came ashore Tuesday night and lingered in south Louisiana as both a hurricane, then later as a tropical storm, throughout Wednesday. The airport also was closed to commercial air traffic on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, Dickson consulted with officials from the city, the Superdome, Rutgers and the CBS Sports Network, which will televise the game nationally.

The Tulane football team left New Orleans for Birmingham, Ala., on Monday and practiced at Samford. The team planned to practice there again Thursday and Friday morning before returning to New Orleans.

The game will mark the end of an eventful first week of the regular season for new Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson, who is used to such weather-related disruptions. Johnson grew up in the New Orleans area and spent the past six seasons as wide receivers coach for the New Orleans Saints.

He joined the Saints the season after Hurricane Katrina hit. He was with the team when they left their suburban New Orleans headquarters and practiced in Indianapolis during Week 1 of the 2008 season while Hurricane Gustav came ashore in south Louisiana.

Isaac has impacted other Louisiana teams.

It caused the postponement of Thursday night's game in Shreveport between Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech. That game was called off on Tuesday, hours before the storm made landfall, and was rescheduled for Oct. 13, when both teams had an open date.

Also, Nicholls State — located in Thibodaux, about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans — has postponed its season opening trip to Oregon State this weekend. The team was scheduled to fly out of New Orleans on Friday for the contest in Corvallis. Officials are working on rescheduling the game.

LSU officials consulted with authorities and examined facilities throughout the day Thursday before deciding that the No. 3 Tigers would indeed be able to host their season opener as scheduled on Saturday night against North Texas.

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