WSU looking for new Sun Bowl opponent as Miami has to drop out
The WSU football team is hoping to put one final positive note on it’s down-and-then-up 2021 season, but it’s suddenly without an opponent just five days before its bowl game.
The Miami Hurricanes, who have been in COVID-19 protocol for much of the past week, announced Sunday that they have to pull of their date with the Cougars in the Sun Bowl on Friday, Dec. 31 due to the program’s issues with the virus.
So is the game canceled? Not yet.
The Cougars have already arrived in El Paso, Texas, the site of the game, and both the school and WSU head coach Jake Dickert released statements Sunday sharing hope that a replacement will be found for Miami and the game can go on as scheduled.
“It is disappointing news that the University of Miami is unable to participate in the 2021 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl,” WSU director of athletics Pat Chun wrote. “We will work with the Pac-12 Conference and the Sun Bowl Association to hopefully find a replacement for the game.”
Dickert tweeted that WSU is “willing to play any opponent” and that “our team just wants one more chance to finish this storied 2021 season.”
— Jacob Dickert (@CoachDickert) December 27, 2021
The story of the Cougars’ season has been one of resilience. Before the season and during the first half of the team’s schedule, the primary focus was on then-head coach Nick Rolovich’s decision to not receive a COVID-19 vaccine for personal reasons. After a mandate in Washington was enacted that required all state employees to be vaccinated against the virus or have an approved exemption, Rolovich and some members of his coaching staff were let go by the school.
Dickert, who was in his second season as WSU defensive coordinator, assumed an interim head coach role on Oct. 18 and led the Cougars to a 3-2 record the rest of the way, including the school’s first Apple Cup win since 2012. He was named permanent head coach after the win over Washington.
The Cougars are 7-5 this season.
Should WSU find a new opponent, the Washington State radio broadcast of the game will air on 710 ESPN Seattle. Pregame is set for 7 a.m. Friday, with kickoff scheduled for 9.