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Hurricanes drop out of Sun Bowl because of COVID-19

Washington State without opponent for game
Miami Hurricanes QB Tyler Van Dyke at Duke Blue Devils in 2021
Posted at 8:45 PM, Dec 26, 2021

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The Miami Hurricanes are out of the Sun Bowl against Washington State because of COVID-19 protocols, the school announced Sunday.

Miami delayed its departure until the day before the game in an effort to play.

"We are extremely disappointed that our football team will be unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl," Miami deputy athletic director Jennifer Strawley said in a statement. "But due to the number of COVID-19 cases impacting our roster, we do not have enough student-athletes to safely compete, and the health and safety of our student-athletes will always be our top priority. This team worked hard all season to earn a bowl invitation and my heart goes out to our student-athletes, especially our seniors."

The announcement means Miami (7-5) ends its season having won five of its final six games after a 2-4 start, but it wasn't enough to save head coach Manny Diaz's job.

Diaz was fired after three seasons and replaced by former Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal, who won two national championships with the Hurricanes as a player.

Washington State has already arrived in El Paso, Texas, for Friday's game but is currently without an opponent to play.

“We regret the impact this has on the Washington State program and their postseason experience," Strawley said. "I want to commend the Sun Bowl Association for their tireless work in helping us navigate this situation over the past several days. We are grateful for their support as an Atlantic Coast Conference bowl partner."

Miami is the third ACC team to be unable to play its bowl game, joining Boston College in the Military Bowl and Virginia in the inaugural Fenway Bowl. Both of those bowl games have been canceled.

The Hurricanes are 0-2 all-time in the Sun Bowl, losing to Washington State 20-14 in 2015 and 33-17 to Notre Dame in 2010.