Just two days after Michigan canceled its remaining game against Iowa, Michigan State’s regular season is now over because of a rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Maryland football program.
In a media release, Maryland (2-3) announced it is canceling Saturday’s scheduled game against the Spartans (2-5) and pausing all team activities after consulting with university medical staff.
"This has been a season of promise and of adversity," Maryland head coach Michael Locksley said in the release. "Our team has demonstrated a tremendous work ethic, resolve and displayed Maryland pride throughout this unique season. We have battled two opponents each week, the team we matched up with on the field and COVID. Together, we experienced tremendous highs and we are deeply disappointed that we will not be able to test ourselves on the field against Michigan State."
Between Dec. 10-16, 15 student-athletes in the Maryland program tested positive for COVID-19. Antigen tests conducted on Thursday morning resulted in three more presumptive positives with confirmatory PCR tests pending. Over the same time period, six members of the football staff also tested positive, resulting in a population positivity rate of 12.4%.
This marks the second time the matchup between the two teams was called off. Maryland was also forced to cancel the Nov. 21 game due to COVID-19.
Now MSU will wait to see if it’s offered a bowl bid. At 2-5, it’s unlikely, but given the uncertainty around which teams will be healthy enough, the Spartans could receive a bowl invitation since there are no win requirements in order to be eligible for a postseason bowl game. On Tuesday, MSU head coach Mel Tucker said he would be willing to play if his team received an invite.
If MSU doesn’t play another game, its 2-5 record will be its lowest win total since 1982 when the Spartans went 2-9 under Muddy Waters. MSU has won just two or fewer games just five times in program history with four of those coming between 1896 and 1917.