With the MAC and Pac-12 back this week, the college football landscape is changing. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the impact of COVID on games and practices. Again this week, there have been games postponed or canceled that could have a lasting impact.
For the second week in a row, the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers have to cancel a game due to COVID-19. Last week the Badgers didn’t travel to Nebraska for their second game of the season, and this week their contest against 2-0 Purdue is also off. The athletic department announced they have 27 active cases in the program with 21 positive tests. They are next scheduled to play November 14 on the road against No. 23 Michigan.
The Badgers won their opening game against Illinois 45-7 with quarterback Graham Mertz throwing for five touchdowns. Mertz was the first to test positive days later before the virus ran through the rest of the program.
Wisconsin may have trouble qualifying for the Big Ten championship game at this point. The conference has no flexibility to reschedule games, and the Badgers will play at most six games this season. Before the shortened season, the Big Ten announced that teams must play at least six games to be eligible for the title game.
Trevor Lawrence to Attend Clemson/Notre Dame Showdown
He won’t be in uniform, but Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be on the sideline for the No. 1 Tigers game at No. 4 Notre Dame Saturday night. The Tigers are -5.5 point favorites even without the Heisman contender who is still in COVID-19 protocol. Lawrence will clear his mandatory 10-day isolation before the game begins but won’t be done with the mandatory cardiovascular tests to be eligible to play.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney announced Tuesday that Lawrence has participated in team meetings through Zoom and will travel with the team to South Bend, Ind. The Tigers have a bye next week and except Lawrence back under center for the November 21 contest against Florida State.
In his place, freshman D.J. Uiagalelei will get his second straight start. The highly-touted signal-caller threw for 342 yards in the comeback win against Boston College last Saturday with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Hill Opts Out
Mississippi State (1-4) running back Kylin Hill has opted out for the rest of the 2020 season while also declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. He is projected to be one of the first running backs drafted in next April’s NFL draft. Last season as a junior, Hill ran for 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns while being named All-SEC.
Under new coach Mike Leach, Hill played in three of the Bulldogs five games this season, rushing for 58 yards on 15 carries. He also showed versatility, catching 23 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown. The Bulldogs have lost four games in a row after upsetting LSU in the opening game of the season.
Mississippi State is home this Saturday against Vanderbilt and favored by 19.5 points. Under Leach’s Air Raid offense, they rank 103rd in the nation with only 30.2 rushing yards per game.