Fresno State’s Nov. 29 matchup against San Diego State has been cancelled, as a result of COVID-19 contact tracing within the Fresno State football program that leaves the Bulldogs without enough players to compete, according to the Mountain West’s press release Sunday afternoon.
The game has therefore been declared a no contest, and there are no plans to reschedule.
It will be the second straight week that the Bulldogs sit out due to contact tracing protocol, as Fresno State had their game against San Jose State canceled late last week due to a positive test within the program. Given the standard 14-day requirement for players to quarantine, Friday’s game against the Aztecs was already in question prior to the Mountain West’s decision.
In a statement, Fresno State AD Terry Tumey said, “We are disappointed for our student-athletes, staff, and the entire Red Wave fan base that we cannot compete against San Diego State this week.”
Tumey continued in his statement:
“We fully understand and appreciate the history and importance of the rivalry so, in partnership with Mountain West Conference leadership and the leadership at San Diego State, we explored every alternative solution we could identify in order to play the game on its scheduled weekend. Unfortunately, there was not a path forward to do so within our defined framework.
The same protocols and precautionary measures, which were implemented this past week, as a result of extensive contact tracing within our program, will remain in place this coming week as recommended by the CDC and the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
The large majority of our football program will continue forward with team activities in preparation for the remainder of our 2020 schedule. At this time, we look forward to the opportunity to compete at Nevada on December 5. As always, the health and safety of our student-athletes, staff, and campus community remain our first priority.”
San Diego State AD John David Wicker also released a statement, “We are disappointed about the game on Friday being canceled due to COVID issues but the health and safety of our student-athletes is most important.”
“We will actively search for a game this weekend because our coaches, student-athletes and staff want to play. We have reached out to the conference office and the Pac-12 that we are actively looking for a game,” added Wicker in his statement.
As of now, the count is still at one confirmed positive case within the Fresno State football program, with an unspecified number of players having to be quarantined as part of contact tracing protocol.
“I am disappointed for our student-athletes and staff that we will not be able to host and compete against San Diego State. In less than two months together our team has come a long way and we were looking forward to taking the next step this Thanksgiving weekend,” said Fresno State head coach Kalen DeBoer.
“Everyday I have the pleasure of seeing our growth as a football program both on and off the field. I’m inspired by the love and care this team has for each other and I’m confident that we will continue to take advantage of every opportunity we get to be our best. Although we are not able to play this weekend I’m beyond proud of the efforts this team has taken to protect each other and stay extremely healthy. We will continue to follow these protocols as we prepare for our next game against Nevada.”
As for Mountain West title game hopes, Fresno State will likely need to win its remaining two games, at Nevada and at New Mexico, and receive some help from other teams.
Due to six Mountain West games being canceled this season, and the number falling to 80 total conference games between the 12 teams, there is no concern for the Bulldogs in regards to meeting the minimum threshold to qualify for the MW title game.
Teams standing in the Bulldogs’ way of reaching the top two conference spots (determined by winning percentage) include three schools undefeated in conference play: 5-0 Nevada, 4-0 San Jose State, and 4-1 Boise State (3-0 in MW). The Spartans and Broncos will play in Boise on Nov. 28.
Fresno State (3-1) will now focus on playing one of those undefeated teams, Nevada, in Reno on Dec. 5.