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Fargodome lights go out; delays Bison game 23 minutes

Smoke hangs near the ceiling of the Fargodome shortly after most of the house lights went out during the North Dakota State/Cal Poly football game Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, at the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO—Cal Poly might've wished the lights would've stayed off in the Fargodome.

A 23-minute delay marred the opening game of North Dakota State's football season when the lights inside the arena went dark during the first quarter.

Dome general manager Rob Sobolik said it's unclear why the lights went off.

"We're still looking into it," Sobolik said at halftime of the Bison's big victory over Cal Poly on Saturday, Sept. 1. "It wasn't a power issue, as far as we can tell. They were tested throughout the week, lights on and lights off."

After NDSU took a 7-0 lead on a 35-yard Lance Dunn touchdown run with 9:57 remaining in the first quarter, the lights illuminating the field shut off. When dome staff turns down the lights for the Bison's pre-game introduction, the lights pop on immediately when the team runs onto the field. But this time, the building stayed dark except for soft auxiliary lighting that turned on.

The full-house crowd didn't seem to mind, and eventually the main lights slowly came back on. The game resumed with the Bison kicking off to Cal Poly.

Sobolik said the dome's lighting is controlled by computer software. Dome staff was able to disconnect the lighting from the computer and turn on the lights.

"Thankfully we were able to get a hold of the actual programmer out of Minneapolis and talked to him a little bit," Sobolik said. "We're totally still investigating the situation. He's going to come up here Tuesday."

Sobolik said he believes it is the first time the dome lights went down during a Bison game.

Mike McFeely
Mike McFeely is a WDAY (970 AM) radio host and a columnist for The Forum. You can respond to Mike's columns by listening to AM-970 from 8:30-11 a.m. weekdays.
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