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With football games scheduled for Saturday, Duke, UNC, NC State and ECU watching Hurricane Dorian

Mighty yet meandering Hurricane Dorian is on the minds of officials at Duke, N.C. State, North Carolina and East Carolina, who all have home football games scheduled for Saturday.

At this point, with eastern and central N.C. in the category two hurricane’s projected path for impact possibly Thursday and Friday, none of the teams’ schedules have been altered.

N.C. State is set to play Western Carolina at 12:30 p.m at Carter-Finley Stadium while Duke, UNC and ECU all have night games.

The N.C. A&T-Duke game and ECU’s game against Gardner-Webb have 6 p.m. kickoffs, while Miami visits UNC at 8 p.m.

“Our administration is following and tracking it obviously,” East Carolina coach Mike Houston said during his weekly news conference on Tuesday. “We don’t anticipate having to adjust anything with the game. It might impact practice a little bit late in the week, but we’ll have contingency plans for that also.”

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service in Raleigh issued a Tropical Storm Watch for eastern NC counties just south and east of Wake County in anticipation of high winds arriving Thursday.

“Right now the long-term forecast -- which I don’t know if it means anything because this storm won’t hardly move -- is that we’re going to be in nice weather Saturday,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Tuesday during his weekly news conference.

All of the area’s major football teams playing at home is reminiscent of three years ago, when Duke, N.C. State and UNC all played home games while Hurricane Matthew battered the area with high winds and flooding rains.

The National Hurricane Center attributed 25 deaths in North Carolina to Matthew, with flood waters a major factor.

Memories of that weekend give Cutcliffe pause as he looks back and considers what could lie ahead for the state this week.

“I’m more concerned about the people,” Cutcliffe said. “We’ve all watched this thing. We probably all know somebody that’s in the cone. I think we just wait and see. The last time this happened all three of us in the area played and there were people losing their lives out east. I’m not real fond of ignoring that fact. That bothers me a little bit.”

Miami athletic director Blake James told the Miami Herald he doesn’t expect any changes for his team’s game at Chapel Hill.

“We are in communication with North Carolina officials and will continue to monitor the storm,” James said. “At this time, we do not believe there will be any changes to our plans.”

UNC spokesman Steve Kirschner said in an email to the News & Observer that school officials are “monitoring the storm.”

N.C. State has made no changes to its schedule for the game with Western Carolina.

“We will continue to monitor Dorian’s progress, but are continuing preparations for Saturday at (the) current time,” N.C. State athletics spokesman Fred Demarest said in an email to the News & Observer.

In other local college football action, Campbell hosts Shaw on Saturday at 6 p.m. St. Augustine’s faces Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory.

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An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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