Rice, UTSA game postponed due to COVID-19 related issues
The Rice football game against the University of Texas, San Antonio Roadrunners that was originally scheduled for tomorrow, Nov. 7, has been postponed due to COVID-19 related issues within the UTSA program.
“I was contacted last night, and informed that UTSA had received some positive [tests],” Rice football head coach Mike Bloomgren said. “We’re disappointed, we’re always excited to play those guys. But we’re going to pivot, and we’re going to move forward.”
Bloomgren said he spoke to the team this morning, asking them to remain flexible and to begin preparing for their upcoming game against Louisiana Tech University.
“When I told the team this morning, that the one constant I’ve asked them for since COVID started is flexibility and adaptability,” Bloomgren said. “We better take it as the blessing that it is, that we have more time to prepare for next week. “Our coaches are working on LA Tech as we speak.”
Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard issued a statement on the cancellation this morning.
“The virus remains a constant challenge to our efforts to play this season,” Karlgaard said. “I know Coach Bloomgren and his staff will regroup our team and turn their attentions to Louisiana Tech.”
Rice and UTSA will work with Conference USA to attempt to reschedule the game for a later date. With the Owls schedule for the rest of the season full, that may prove challenging. Bloomgren said that he would like to see UTSA put back on the schedule, especially considering the champion of the C-USA West might hang in the balance.
“I think it makes a lot of sense to play every [team] in the West, as we’re trying to decide a champion,” Bloomgren said. “If you play everybody, we can decide [a champion] on the field. My goal is to get a chance to play them, but that’s a decision for the conference office.”
Bloomgren did express frustration with the situation as a whole, saying that trying to get through a season in the midst of a pandemic is difficult.
“This uncertainty is so hard to deal with,” Bloomgren said. “Seeing it as a blessing is what you have to do, because if not you’ll go crazy.”
Bloomgren said that he has reminded his team that going forward, their actions regarding the virus are more important than ever.
“It’s a freaking virus, and it’s much bigger than football,” Bloomgren said. “I’m imploring our team to be disciplined with their actions.”
The Owls will hit the road over the next two weeks, visiting Ruston, Louisiana for their matchup against LA Tech on Nov. 14. They’ll follow that with a visit to Denton, Texas for a Nov. 21 matchup with the University of North Texas.
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Rice lost to the University of North Texas on Saturday by a score of 27-17. The loss dropped the Owls’ record to 1-2 on the season. Meanwhile, the Mean Green improved to 3-3 with their win.
When Rice takes the field against the University of North Texas on Saturday, it will be the Owls’ first game in 21 days. After a 30-6 win over the University of Southern Mississippi on Oct. 31, Rice has seen their last two games postponed due to COVID-19 cases within their opponents’ programs. The 1-1 Owls now have to regroup from their unscheduled two week break in order to face a Mean Green team that enters the game with a 2-3 record. Head coach Mike Bloomgren said he is proud of how his team has been able to improve despite these challenges.
The Rice Owls football season has encountered several major hurdles this season. The team has played only two games thus far, and has had two games postponed due to COVID-19 safety precautions. However, a bright spot for the team has been its consistent offense, which has scored 32.0 points per game on average, ranking No. 45 in the nation. A key player contributing to the success of the Owls’ offense is senior wide receiver Austin Trammell.