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Utah State-Wyoming game canceled due to ‘upward trend’ of COVID-19 cases in Aggies’ program

Utah State linebacker Eric Munoz, left, returns an interception as Wyoming quarterback Tyler Vander Waal (18) chases after him during the second half of a game Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Logan, Utah. 
Eli Lucero, The Herald Journal via Associated Press

It looks like the start of the Cooper Legas era at Utah State will have to wait.

Due to an “upward trend” in positive COVID-19 cases in the Aggies’ football program, the Mountain West Conference announced Wednesday that the game between Wyoming and Utah State, slated to be played Thursday night, has been canceled.

There are no plans to reschedule the contest.

Fourteen college games that had been scheduled for this week have now been either canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks. That includes another Mountain West game, UNLV at Colorado State.

For Utah State, it is the first game cancellation of the 2020 season. The Aggies are 0-4 this year, after losing to Boise State, San Diego State, Nevada and Fresno State.

Wyoming (1-2), meanwhile, has now had back-to-back games canceled, after the conference pulled the plug on last week’s contest against Air Force.

Utah State does not release specific COVID-19 case numbers within the program, but individual players have been confirmed to have tested positive for the virus, including, but not limited to, quarterback Andrew Peasley and linebacker Cash Gilliam. Both missed the Aggies’ 35-16 loss to Fresno State and were expected to be out against Wyoming as well.

“He will not (be available),” interim coach Frank Maile told reporters Monday, specifically about Peasley. “He tested positive last week so he will not play in this game.”

A few weeks ago, USU put out a call for walk-ons to try out for the football team, and per now former head coach Gary Andersen, COVID-19 cases were a major impetus behind that.

“The roster is not what it usually is. We are really down on numbers,” Andersen said. “And it is not dreadfully horrible, but we’ve lost a lost of kids to COVID.”

Utah State is 40-26-4 all-time against Wyoming, a rivalry game coined “Bridger’s Battle,” including a 13-15-3 record on the road. The Aggies won 20 of the first 23 meetings and have been victorious in six of the last eight meetings, including last year’s game in Logan.

The first game ever played in the series was in 1903, and the two teams played one another 58 times through the 1978 season. After a 23-year hiatus, the series resumed in 2001 and the two teams have played one another 12 times since then. Utah State’s 40 wins against Wyoming are its most against any opponent in school history.

As for next week’s game, which is scheduled to be played against New Mexico in Logan on Thursday, Nov. 26 — aka Thanksgiving — Utah State athletic director John Hartwell announced Wednesday that only family members of players will be allowed inside Maverik Stadium.

The decision is based off recommendations and safety guidelines from university, local and state officials due to increased COVID-19 hospitalizations and “unsustainable case rates” in Utah.

Utah State had 5,116 fans in attendance for its home opener against San Diego State on Oct. 31, but did not allow fans for its home game against Fresno State on Nov. 14.

The Aggies’ game against the Lobos will be nationally televised on Fox Sports 1 and is scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. MST.