Michigan State football game at Maryland canceled due to Terps' COVID-19 issues

Chris Solari
Detroit Free Press

Michigan State football's road trip to Maryland has been called off.

Under the guidance and advice of medical officials, Maryland announced Thursday the Terrapins' program will remain on pause because of a COVID-19 outbreak. It is the first MSU game this season canceled due to the coronavirus.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff remains our top priority,” MSU coach Mel Tucker said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “While we are disappointed we won’t be able to compete this Saturday, we certainly understand the situation and hope that Maryland can get back on the field soon.

“I want to thank our medical staff for everything they have done for our program all year long. We must remain diligent in following all of our safety protocols in order to give us an opportunity to play.”

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Maryland coach Mike Locksley tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, one of seven Terrapin staff members to do so, according to the university, and is in isolation. Maryland's Big Ten test positivity test rate is currently 2.8%, but the population positivity rate is 14.9%, nearly twice the rate at which the Big Ten stops practice and competition. The positivity rates are based on seven-day rolling averages.

According to Maryland's news release, 15 football players and seven staff members tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

"I am gutted for our team and for our fans," Locksley said in a statement. "This team is eager to play and compete and continue the growth we've seen this season. This virus is testing our players and coaches right now, but I have no doubt that we will emerge as a stronger unit for having gone through this together. As for me personally, I am feeling strong, with only minor symptoms. I will continue to lead this program virtually and our game preparations for Indiana will begin immediately."

Maryland experienced an outbreak among its program — eight cases in seven days — that forced a stoppage of all team activities Nov. 11 and the cancellation of last Saturday's scheduled game against No. 3 Ohio State, one of 15 games called off that weekend. Coach Mike Locksley moved his healthy players into a hotel for four days, and the team left as planned Sunday.

The Terrapins (2-1) did not practice Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday according to The Washington Post, and Locksley's usual Tuesday media availability was indefinitely pushed back to later in the week.

Rocky Lombardi #12 of the Michigan State Spartans hands the ball off to Connor Heyward #11 of the Michigan State Spartans during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field on November 3, 2018 in College Park, Maryland.

Tucker on Tuesday said he talked with Locksley “for a long time” that morning to get a gauge on the situation.The Spartans experienced their own two-week pause in late July and early August due to COVID cases inside the program.

MSU (1-3) is scheduled to host No. 20 Northwestern (4-0) on Nov. 28. Kickoff time and broadcast info has not yet been announced.

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