COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s football season became one game shorter on Wednesday afternoon when Maryland announced it was canceling its game against the Buckeyes on Saturday because eight Terrapins football players had tested positive for COVID-19.
There will be no make-up date for the game because there are no open dates on any Big Ten teams’ schedules.
No. 3 Ohio State (3-0) practiced on Wednesday but it is uncertain when Maryland (2-1) might return to practice or if it will be able to play its next scheduled game on Nov. 21 against Michigan State. Ohio State’s next game will be on Nov. 21 against Indiana at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State was a four-touchdown favorite over Maryland.
There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said in a statement.
“We realize that this news is disappointing to all of the Maryland fans out there who were looking forward to the Terps taking on an outstanding Ohio State team, but the responsible thing for us to do is pause football activities, given the number of positive cases currently in our program.”
Maryland coach Mike Locksley said, We’ll continue to operate as much as we can virtually as we monitor the situation in hopes of returning to play when it’s deemed safe.”
Ohio State has not announced COVID-19 testing results in its football program. But no key players have missed time because of it, other than linebacker Justin Hilliard being held out of the Penn State game after what was later determined to be a false positive test result.
“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes is our main concern,” OSU coach Ryan Day said in a statement. “Obviously, we are disappointed at not being able to compete this week, but I am incredibly proud of our team and the way they have handled themselves throughout this entire pandemic.
“We wish Maryland, their student-athletes and programs well as they battle through this issue,” he said.
This is the third Big Ten game canceled since October 31. The other two were the result of an outbreak in Wisconsin’s football program, which caused the Badgers to call off games against Nebraska and Purdue.
There appears to be no chance that Ohio State could try to schedule a non-conference game to fill Saturday’s open date.
When Nebraska attempted to schedule a game against Tennessee-Chattanooga on Oct. 31 to replace its game against Wisconsin, that idea was quickly rejected by the Big Ten.
Five teams in The Associated Press Top 25 have had games this weekend canceled or postponed because of COVID-19.
No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 12 Georgia and No. 24 Auburn will not be playing this weekend.