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Coach Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators will not play against defending national champion LSU this weekend, as the Gators are dealing with a coronavirus outbreak. Thomas Graning/Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Southeastern Conference postponed Saturday’s game between No. 10 Florida and defending national champion LSU a day after the Gators had 19 players test positive for COVID-19.

The game was tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12, the league’s built-in bye week before its title game. It’s the second SEC game bumped this week, following Missouri-Vanderbilt.

Florida paused team activities Tuesday after learning it had 19 positives and about a dozen more quarantined because of contact tracing results. Gators Coach Dan Mullen said two assistant coaches also tested positive for COVID-19. Those numbers could increase with Wednesday’s test results.

Florida moved to everyday testing after seeing a spike in positives Sunday, the day after a 41-38 loss at Texas A&M.

“I don’t want to speculate where we are right now,” Mullen said. “We’re taking an abundance of caution. … We’re certainly hoping and everybody that we’ve worked for getting these tests back before we conduct any team activity to make sure that we’re keeping everyone as safe as possible.”

The shutdown came three days after Mullen’s comments about wanting to pack 90,000 fans inside Florida Field to create a better home-field advantage against the Tigers. Mullen didn’t double down Monday, but he didn’t back down, either.

He brushed aside criticism and praised his players for how well they have handled COVID safety protocols. He finally backtracked two days later, apologizing “if I offended people or anybody out there.”

“One of the things I want to encourage was whatever our local health officials come and out say, ‘This is the number of people that we’re going to allow at the game right now,’” Mullen said. “I want to encourage those people to come in, bring the energy, bring the excitement into the stadium and help our team to win and bring that energy that they bring of what makes the Swamp such a special place to go play in.”

LSU: Quarterback Myles Brennan has been too sore to practice this week, Coach Ed Orgeron said.

Orgeron said it was “doubtful” Brennan could have been ready to play by Saturday, when LSU was originally scheduled to visit No. 10 Florida. But officials decided Wednesday to postpone the game because of a spike in COVID-19 cases at Florida.

LSU’s next scheduled game is now on Oct. 24, when the Tigers are slated to host South Carolina.

Freshmen QBs Max Johnson and TJ Finley have been splitting practice snaps this week, Orgeron said.

CONFERENCE USA: The league has pushed its championship game back two weeks to Dec. 18, allowing additional time to make up games postponed because of the coronavirus.

There have been three games matching C-USA opponents postponed the last two weeks. Seven other nonconference matchups were either postponed or canceled.

SYRACUSE: Safety Andre Cisco is opting out of the 2020 season and plans to enter the 2021 NFL draft.

Cisco announced his decision Tuesday evening in a Twitter video. The preseason, first-team AP All-American entered the season with 12 interceptions, the most in the Bowl Subdivision, and snared another before suffering a lower-body injury in a collision with a teammate in pregame warmups just over two weeks ago. He missed the Orange’s last two games.

 


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