Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach, left, confers with quarterback Will Rogers (2), right, while assistants listen during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

COVID-19 Runs the SEC: Mississippi State vs. Auburn Game Postponed

Saturday’s football game between Mississippi State and Auburn is postponed after more Bulldogs’ test positive for COVID-19.

According to Mississippi’s Director of Athletics John Cohen, the team does not meet the minimum requirement of players to play.

“Based on positive tests and those considered as close contacts, along with non-COVID injuries, we do not have the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available for Saturday’s game against Auburn,” he said.

“While we are disappointed that Saturday’s game has been postponed, our priority is the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and staff. We will continue to follow all established protocols and evaluate the most responsible path to return to the field.”

SEC Outbreak

This is the sixth SEC game postponed due to limited players. As a result, the SEC is working to modify its schedule to accommodate game rescheduling before the national championship.

Per the SEC Covid-19 Guidelines, a team must have 53 scholarship players available to play. This includes at least one quarterback; seven offensive linemen- including a center; and four defensive linemen in any position. Walk-on players also can not count toward the minimum count. If a player contracts Covid-19, they are to remain in quarantine for 10 days.

Program Challenges

The SEC announced Monday that the tentative reschedule date for Mississippi State vs. Auburn will be Dec. 12.

Texas A&M and LSU are also battling another COVID-19 outbreak in their programs. Practices for Texas A&M are postponed for the time being. LSU’s upcoming game versus Alabama is also at risk. Moreover, Auburn has not reported a positive test since Sept. 12.

“Be responsible,” said Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn.

“That’s going to be a huge key to the last four games and our success. So I just challenged them individually, you know, and as a group that let’s make sure we do a great job this week, the next two days, this weekend. You know, I really expect our guys to do that.”

Mississippi State Makes Adjustments

Mississippi State had just enough players to play against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

After two players opted out weeks before and K.J. Costello was ruled out from a concussion in the Alabama game, freshman Will Rogers was Mississippi’s starting QB. Rogers made his debut against Vanderbilt and is now the fourth quarterback in MSU’s history to secure a win in their first college game.

Nonetheless, he snapped Mississippi State’s four-loss streak and went 35/46, 226 yards and one touchdown.

Coach Talks Covid

To sum, head coach Mike Leach is optimistic practice will resume by the end of the week. The program conducts regular testing, however, no coaches have recently tested positive for Covid-19.

About jasmineh1

Currently a student at the University of Florida obtaining a B.S. in Sports Journalism and Media, with a concentration in Sports Management. I am pursuing a career in sports media whilst open to careers in sports journalism, event planning, sports event planning, sports media and broadcasting and sports administration. I have a strong work ethic and am willing to learn various sports entities and programs in fast-paced environments.

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