JACKSON, Miss. — At the time Southern and Jackson State were originally scheduled to kick off, at 6 p.m. Saturday, nine people were trapped in an elevator at Mississippi's Veterans Memorial Stadium for nearly 45 minutes.
Lightning near the stadium was the original reason for the delay, and then, while sheets of rain rolled in and out of the area, three of Jackson State's six stadium lights and the main scoreboard blacked out around 6 p.m. — extending the delay to 91 minutes in all.
And, yes, after select power issues around the stadium were solved, the local fire department rescued those trapped in the elevator shortly into the delay.
Southern and Jackson State officially kicked off at 7:31 p.m.
Without power or air conditioning in the visiting locker room, Southern spent the entirety of the delay sitting on the team buses. The Jaguars briefly returned to their locker room before an unusually quick, 10-minute warmup period to expedite the kickoff.
“That was so strange," senior cornerback Danny Johnson said. "I’ve never did that before. Nobody wanted to go home, they were ready to play this game.”
Added senior quarterback Austin Howard: “We just went on that bus and started clowning.”
“I went a took a nap," running back Herb Edwards said. "Got in the bus with my little pillow and took a nap to keep my energy conserved.”
Homecoming parade rescheduled
When Tropical Storm Nate forced Southern to scrap its annual homecoming parade two weeks ago, the university hinted that it might be a postponement rather than an outright cancellation.
Friday, Southern announced the parade had found a new date, time — and route.
The parade will start at 7:45 a.m. on Nov. 4, the day of Southern’s home finale against Prairie View A&M and will travel from Badley Road near the Interstate 110 overpass by Scotlandville High School.
The parade route typically travels along Scenic Highway and Harding Boulevard.
With Tropical Storm Nate projected to make landfall in Louisiana late the night of Oct. 7, Southern decided to move kickoff up five hours, requiring the parade to be rescheduled.
"We look forward to an exciting event in the name of the annual SU Homecoming parade that was postponed a few weeks ago out of concern for the well being of our faithful fans and members of the community,” said SU System President Dr. Ray L. Belton in a news release.
The game between Southern and Prairie View is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Pine Bluff game to kick off at 4 p.m.
Southern’s game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff was originally scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m., but Southern recently received word that the game will instead start at 4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Seniors Johnson, Howard and defensive end Aaron Tiller were captains for the Jaguars on Saturday.
Johnson, renowned by most as Southern's top defender, entered for Southern's offense and scored his first career rushing touchdown on a 5-yard run in the second quarter.
The Jaguars had a 44-yard field goal blocked in the third quarter against Jackson State, marking their third blocked field goal attempt in seven games this season.
Advocate sportswriter Luke Johnson contributed to this report.