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Central Michigan replaces Miami in Sun Bowl after COVID-19-linked exit

Central Michigan replaces Miami in Sun Bowl after COVID-19-linked exit
Defensive back Alonzo McCoy (L) and Central Michigan face Washington State in the 2021 Sun Bowl at noon Friday at the Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Central Michigan will now face Washington State in the 2021 Sun Bowl after Miami withdrew due to COVID-19 issues within its program, the Sun Bowl Association announced.

"With the COVID-19 situation around the country affecting bowl season, college football and air travel, another team having issues fielding a team has given life to the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl," the Sun Bowl Association said Monday in a news release.

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Central Michigan (8-4) will face Washington State (7-5) at noon EST Friday at the Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.

Miami (7-5) announced its withdrawal from the Sun Bowl on Sunday. The Hurricanes said in a news release that the team didn't have enough student athletes available to safety compete due to the number of COVID-19 cases impacting its roster.

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Central Michigan previously accepted an invitation to face Boise State (7-5) in the Arizona Bowl, but officials canceled that game Monday after Boise State withdrew due to COVID-19 cases within its program.

The Sun Bowl association said Central Michigan arrived in Tucson on Sunday and will make a four-hour drive to compete Friday in El Paso.

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The Arizona Bowl, originally scheduled for New Year's Eve, was the fourth game canceled so far this bowl season due to COVID-19 issues. Last Friday's Hawaii Bowl, Monday's Military Bowl and Wednesday's Fenway Bowl were previously canceled for the same reasons.

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Rutgers also replaced Texas A&M (8-4) in the Gator Bowl due to COVID-19 issues within the Aggies program. Rutgers (5-7) battles Wake Forest (10-3) in that game at 11 a.m. EST Friday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

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