Bouncing back from a canceled game, the Utah State football team is full steam ahead to play on Thanksgiving.
Aggies interim coach Frank Maile said Monday via videoconference that there will be football at Maverik Stadium on Thursday against the New Mexico Lobos.
“As of today, we’re playing ball,” Maile said.
Last week, the Mountain West Conference canceled Utah State’s game against Wyoming “due to an upward trend of COVID-19 cases” in the Aggies’ program. The game was declared a no contest.
Maile said the team received coronavirus tests Monday and will do so again Tuesday.
Quarterback Andrew Peasley and offensive lineman Demytrick Ali’ifua returned to the team this week after recently testing positive for COVID-19, Maile said. Other players could be cleared to return later in the week.
Offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder is still not back with the team after testing positive, Maile said, adding that running backs coach Dave Schramm will run the offense against the Lobos.
Maile said what made the team unable to play last Thursday wasn’t the amount of players who contracted the coronavirus, but the players who then had to quarantine due to possible exposure to those who tested positive.
“That’s really what led us not to play was the tracing portion of the deal,” Maile said. “We had to quarantine players — probably too many to play. And thinking of our players’ health and safety first and foremost, that would’ve been a problem for us to play last week.”
The Thanksgiving Day game will be played without fans in attendance.