College football COVID-19: Minnesota-Northwestern game canceled and Michigan taking pause

The Big Ten is facing more challenges with COVID-19 after a weekend when two football games were canceled due to health concerns.

Minnesota announced Monday its game scheduled for Saturday against No. 17 Northwestern has been canceled and will be considered a no contest. The Gophers had last week's game against Wisconsin shut down. It will be the first time since 1906 the border rivals will not play.

Minnesota said team activities remained paused after being halted Tuesday. The team's next scheduled game is Dec. 12 at Nebraska.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff continues to be our main priority," Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement. "The last couple of days have shown a decrease in positive cases, but not to the point where we are able to return to competition. We are disappointed not to be able to compete against Northwestern on Saturday, but we need to continue to focus on following all CDC and MDH guidelines and slow the spread of the virus."

Minnesota wide receiver Daniel Jackson catches a pass while being defended by Purdue cornerback Dedrick Mackey during their game at TCF Bank Stadium. (Photo: Jesse Johnson, USA TODAY Sports)

Michigan game against Maryland in doubt

Michigan announced Monday its football program is pausing activities because of health concerns related to presumptive positive tests.

Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh said the program has seen a rise in presumptive positive tests.

“That’s an increased number from zero," Harbaugh said. "It was more than one. It was a few. So it was increased.”

Harbaugh declined to predict whether the Wolverines would play this Saturday against Maryland.

"This is day to day," Harbaugh said. "When the results come back, we’ll monitor those results and as always continue to be very proactive.”

Ohio State's chances at Big Ten title in jeopardy

Michigan's health status is a concern for No. 4 Ohio State. The schools are set to play Dec. 12, but the Buckeyes have already missed two games and would likely be out of contention for the Big Ten championship if the game is canceled. The Buckeyes must play eight games to be eligible.

California schools looking for a home

Stanford and San Jose State are exploring options for their final games of the season after Santa Clara County imposed a temporary ban on all high school, collegiate and professional contact sports, as well as a mandatory quarantine for anyone traveling to the county from more than 150 miles away.

Neither team is able to practice in the county as part of the restrictions that went into effect Monday. Stanford is scheduled to play at Washington. San Jose State is still planning to face Hawaii in what was to be a home game. The contest must take place outside the county. The school tweeted a game announcement with a location TBD.

The NFL's San Francisco 49ers announced Monday it would relocate its home games for Dec. 7 and Dec. 13 to the home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale.

Charlotte-Western Kentucky matchup canceled

The Charlotte 49ers haven't played since Halloween.

Their game against Western Kentucky, already moved from Saturday until Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET, has been canceled because of positive coronavirus tests within the 49ers.

Contributing: Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press

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