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Utah to play Washington on Saturday, after Utes’ game against Arizona State canceled

Utah and Washington will meet at 8:30 p.m. MST at Husky Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham stands on the field as his team warms up before the game between the Utah Utes and the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham stands on the field as his team warms up before the game between Utah and the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Once again, Utah’s football schedule has been impacted by COVID-19.

The Utes saw their first two games, against Arizona and UCLA, canceled due to the virus.

Now, they’ve seen a game cancellation and a new matchup created all on the same day.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Pac-12 announced that the Utah-Arizona State game has been canceled, as had been widely speculated. A couple of days ago, the league moved the contest back from Saturday to Sunday.

Utah’s new opponent this week will be Washington — the league announced the matchup hours after the Utah-ASU cancellation. The Huskies saw their Apple Cup showdown this weekend with archrival Washington State wiped out.

Utah and Washington will meet at 8:30 p.m. MST at Husky Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The Huskies (2-0) defeated Oregon State 27-21 on Nov. 14 and beat Arizona 44-27 last Saturday.

Athletic director Mark Harlan responded to a question Tuesday night on Twitter as to why the game is being played in Seattle, not Salt Lake City.

“Issue was TV partner needed location by yesterday, due to holiday week. Many TV production trucks are based in Northwest, etc. Otherwise, game would have be in SLC. It’s all good...with no fans, it’s a whole different deal this year. Just thrilled to play.”

Arizona State has been ravaged by the coronavirus and it had to shut down practices on Nov. 11. Coach Herm Edwards was one of the people in the program to test positive for the virus.

Huskies — the game will be played in Seattle, not at Rice-Eccles Stadium — while also discussing the unique scenario of being uncertain who their weekend opponent might be.

“All the focus right now is on ASU. Until we’re told differently, that’s where we’ll put the majority of attention because we’ve still got to pay attention to the other possibility,” Whittingham said Tuesday morning. “That’s where our primary focus is. We hope to find out sooner rather than later. It would be ideal if we find out today. As the week moves on, it becomes a more of a difficult situation without having some clarity. But we have no control over that. So we’re just waiting for a definitive answer. Until that point, the main focal point is Arizona State.”

Coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledged Tuesday morning that the Utes could face the

Well, now the Utes can shift focus away from the Sun Devils.

The Pac-12 made the decision because ASU will not have enough scholarship players available because of COVID-19.

“We are very disappointed for our student-athletes and our fans to be unable to play this game,” said the conference’s announcement. “While all of us want to see our football student-athletes on the field competing, our number one priority must continue to be the health and safety of all those connected to Pac-12 football programs.”

With the announcement of the Utah-Washington game, the Pac-12 said in a statement: “The scheduling of this game is consistent with the Conference’s commitment to provide opportunities for student-athletes through maximum scheduling flexibility while still prioritizing health and safety. The announcement follows the cancellations of each of the Utah at Arizona State game and the Washington at Washington State game.”