Music City Bowl canceled after Missouri Tigers pull out of game due to rise in coronavirus cases

The TransPerfect Music City Bowl has been canceled after the Missouri Tigers pulled out of the game due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in their program, it was announced Sunday.

The Tigers were set to face Iowa on Wednesday in Nashville, but Missouri canceled practice Sunday after an increase in positive COVID-19 tests and paused all team activities until Jan. 2.

“Unfortunately, that has resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 game,” bowl officials said in a statement.

A source told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the new cases have been traced to Missouri’s Dec. 19 game at Mississippi State.

“Since concluding our regular season and conducting four rounds of tests over the last eight days, we have seen a significant increase in positive COVID-19 tests among our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement. “… This eight-day uptick within our program is significant and has made it impossible for us to play in the bowl game.”

Iowa was not aware of Missouri’s issues until after the Hawkeyes practiced Sunday morning. Iowa resumed activities Saturday after a five-day pause because of COVID-19 cases in its program, which included coach Kirk Ferentz.

“We are extremely disappointed to have our season end today,” Ferentz said in a statement. “This is a remarkable group of players and men, and it has been an honor to coach them. This has been a very special team. We have overcome several challenges together during a season like no other. I am incredibly proud of this entire team and saddened that we will not have one more chance to get out and compete together.”

Missouri completed its regular season at 5-5 under first-year coach Eliah Drinkwitz, finishing third in the SEC East. Iowa played all eight games of the Big Ten’s regular season before a Dec. 19 game against Michigan was canceled because of COVID-19 issues with the Wolverines. After an 0-2 start, the Hawkeyes won their final six games to rise to No. 15 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

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