COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s football game hosting Marshall Saturday has been cancelled due to Hurricane Florence, the school announced Wednesday.
The Gamecocks will look for an opportunity to play a 12th regular-season game later this season.
"Whether or not the game could have been played, we made the decision we think is best for the state and those who are evacuating the coast," USC athletics director Ray Tanner said in a statement. "There is no question this is the right thing to do and the decision was supported by President (Harris) Pastides, coach (Will) Muschamp, our board members and myself."
USC wanted to wait until Thursday afternoon to make a final call as Marshall was set to fly or bus to Columbia on Friday. A shift in Florence’s track on Wednesday, which has the storm projected to hustle directly through Columbia, hastened the decision.
The only opportunity to play another game USC currently has is Oct. 20, its bye week. Other teams such as Virginia Tech and West Virginia also have that date as a bye week and had to cancel their regularly scheduled games this week due to Florence.
The Gamecocks may be leery of scheduling a Power-5 team, or any team, for that date as it would have USC playing 10 consecutive weeks without a break.
Tanner told The Post and Courier Tuesday that USC wants to reschedule the Marshall game for this year. The Thundering Herd have a game on Oct. 20, so if USC does eventually play them, the most likely date would be Dec. 1.
That date is contingent on each team not making their respective conference championship games. USC nor Marshall could commit to that date on Wednesday so the game is considered cancelled instead of postponed.
It’s the third time in four seasons USC has had to change a home football game due to weather. A historic flood in 2015 forced the Gamecocks to move a home game with LSU to Baton Rouge, La., since Columbia was lacking emergency personnel and potable water. A 2016 home game with Georgia was delayed one day to Sunday after Hurricane Matthew soaked the Midlands.
The Gamecocks’ players, many of which are having their families come to Columbia after evacuating South Carolina’s coast, will next play at Vanderbilt at 4 p.m. on Sept. 22.