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Boise State game against San Jose State canceled due to rise in COVID-19 cases, contact tracing

The announcement came just hours before the Broncos were set to take on the Spartans in their fourth conference game.
Credit: Tony Avelar/AP Photo
San Jose State’s makes a reception as Boise State’s Jalen Walker defends during an NCAA game, in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Boise State won 52-42.

BOISE, Idaho — The conference game between the Boise State Broncos and the San Jose State Spartans set for Saturday, Nov. 28 has been canceled, according to a tweet from the official Mountain West Conference Twitter account.

Boise State entered this week as one of three teams in the Mountain West yet to have a game canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.

Less than five hours before they were sent to kick off against San Jose State on national television at Albertsons Stadium, the Broncos joined the large majority of programs that have had a game called off due to the pandemic.

The Mountain West has officially canceled Saturday's game and deemed it a no contest. They also said there is no plan to reschedule the game.

Bob Carney, Boise State Interim Athletic Director, issued a statement on Saturday regarding the cancelation:

“Because of a delay at the lab, our results from Thursday’s tests didn't come back until late yesterday, which meant our staff were contact tracing until late last night. Under the circumstances, and with limited numbers within specific position groups, our coaches, administration and medical personnel met this morning and determined that it was not in the best interest of our student-athletes’ safety and well-being to play today’s game. I am disappointed for the student-athletes, coaches and fans, both at Boise State and San Jose State, and am hopeful the Broncos will be able to return to the field this next week against UNLV.” 

Boise State had experienced an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases each week of the season prior to a small dip last week.

Zero players tested positive in their Week 1 matchup against Utah State, but it would impact the Broncos in the weeks that followed.

Starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier confirmed that he tested positive and was held out against Air Force in the second game of the season. He missed the BYU game the following week, too, along with three other members due to COVID-19 protocols.

That number swelled to 14 prior to the Colorado State game in Boise on Nov. 12. Nine players were held out due to positive tests, and five more due to contact tracing. Given the attrition on the defensive line, the Broncos had offensive line Ben Dooley taking snaps at defensive tackle.

Eventually, that number dipped to 12 last week before traveling to Hawaii, but it appears that COVID-19 finally caught up to the Broncos.

Boise State and San Jose State still could play later this year. The Broncos and Spartans are two of three undefeated teams in league play at the moment. San Jose State wraps up the regular season against the lone other unbeaten Mountain West school, Nevada, on Dec. 12.

The two teams with the top winning percentages will meet in the Mountain West Football Championship on Dec. 19.