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Gator Bowl searching to replace Texas A&M due to COVID-19 issues

Gator Bowl searching to replace Texas A&M due to COVID-19 issues
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said his team didn't have enough healthy scholarship players to field a team for the 2021 Gator Bowl. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Gator Bowl officials will attempt to find a team to replace Texas A&M after the Aggies withdrew from the game due to COVID-19 issues within the football program, Gator Bowl chairman John Duce announced.

Duce made the announcement Wednesday in a news release. The release also cited the Aggies' season-ending injuries, in addition to the COVID-19 issues.

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Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher said in a school news release that the team doesn't "have enough scholarship players available to field a team."

No. 17 Wake Forest was picked to face No. 25 Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl on Dec. 31 in Jacksonville, Fla.

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"We are disappointed that Texas A&M University and the Aggie fans will be unable to represent the Southeastern Conference in Jacksonville at this year's TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game," Duce said.

"However, the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches and staff remains our primary concern."

The release said that Gator Bowl officials are "aggressively" working with the NCAA, ESPN and conferences to replace Texas A&M with another team in the next few days.

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Wake Forest athletic director John Currie told reporters Wednesday that at least five teams reached out and are interested in facing the Demon Deacons in the Gator Bowl.

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Several college football coaches posted messages on Twitter, expressing interest in the game.

Sources told The Athletic, N.J. Advance Media and ESPN on Wednesday that Rutgers is expected to receive an invitation to the game.

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Wake Forest is scheduled to face a to-be-determined opponent in the Gator Bowl at 11 a.m. EST Dec. 31 at TIAA Bank Field.

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