USC Trojans’ Saturday Football Game Against Colorado Canceled; Covid-19 Outbreak Leaves ‘SC Depleted At Key Position

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USC Trojan QB Kedon Slovis vs. Utah Utes late week. Icon Sportswire via AP Images

USC’s football game against Colorado scheduled for Saturday at the Coliseum has been canceled and will be declared a no-contest. The action was taken by the Pac-12 because USC does not have the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game at a specific position group as a result of a number of positive COVID-19 cases. According to ESPN, the position group was the offensive line.

USC is currently leading the Pac 12 South at 3-0 after nail-biter wins against Washington and Washington State and a more definitive victory last week against the former division powerhouse Utes. With the victory, the rose to number 18 in the AP’s weekly rankings.

On Tuesday, USC announced that one player had tested positive. The university announced on Wednesday that a second player has tested positive for COVID-19. Another five players quarantined after contact tracing protocols were followed. School officials canceled practice Tuesday and returned to in-person drills on Wednesday before canceling practice again on Thursday when a player showed symptoms of the virus.

The Pac-12 Conference has established minimum thresholds to play. A team must have at least 53 scholarship players available, including at least seven offensive linemen, one quarterback and four defensive linemen.

Coach Clay Helton told reporters Thursday “there are starters involved” among the two players who tested positive and five quarantined, none of whom have been publicly identified because of privacy laws.

“We are disappointed for our players and fans and those from Colorado that Saturday’s game will not be played, but the health and safety of everyone in both programs is of the utmost priority,” Helton said in a statement posted to Twitter Thursday night. “Our players have worked hard since the summer not only to prepare for this season, but to do so in a safe manner by following all health protocols. I applaud their discipline and sacrifice in doing so. We will continue to test and monitor our players, coaches and staff and take guidance from health officials as we prepare for our remaining games.”

The NFL postponed the Baltimore Ravens’ primetime Thanksgiving matchup against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers, moving it to Sunday. Baltimore had at least 10 positive Covid-19 tests, according to the NFL.

The decision to push from Thursday to Sunday “was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel, and in consultation with medical experts,” the NFL said in a statement.

The Trojans’ next scheduled game is Friday, Dec. 4 at home against Washington State.

The Pac 12 canceled two other games earlier this week, as well.

Dade Hayes and City News Service contributed to this report.

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