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Music City Bowl canceled after Missouri withdraws due to COVID-19

Music City Bowl canceled after Missouri withdraws due to COVID-19
Missouri finished its 2020 season with a 5-5 record under first-year head coach Eli Drinkwitz. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The 2020 Music City Bowl has been canceled after the Missouri Tigers withdrew from the game due to a rise in COVID-19 cases within their football program, it was announced Sunday.

Missouri was set to face the Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday in Nashville, but the Tigers called off practice Sunday after an increase in positive coronavirus tests. The school paused all team activities until Jan. 2.

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"The TransPerfect Music City Bowl received word today that due to an increase in positive COVID-19 tests among its student-athletes, coaches and staff following its final regular-season game and after consultation with local and state health departments, Missouri would be unable to participate," bowl officials said in a statement Sunday.

The new cases within the Tigers' program have been traced to Missouri's Dec. 19 game at Mississippi State.

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"Since concluding our regular season and conducting four rounds of tests over the last eight days, we have seen a significant increase in positive COVID-19 tests among our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement.

"... This eight-day uptick within our program is significant and has made it impossible for us to play in the bowl game."

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Iowa was unaware of Missouri's coronavirus issues until after the Hawkeyes' practice Sunday morning. Iowa resumed football activities Saturday after a five-day pause due to COVID-19 issues in its program.

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"We are extremely disappointed to have our season end today," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "This is a remarkable group of players and men, and it has been an honor to coach them. This has been a very special team. We have overcome several challenges together during a season like no other.

"I am incredibly proud of this entire team and saddened that we will not have one more chance to get out and compete together."

Missouri finishes its season with a 5-5 record under first-year head coach Eli Drinkwitz. Iowa (6-2) closes its 2020 campaign at No. 15 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

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