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Maryland football won’t accept a bowl invitation, ending 2020 season after five games

The Maryland football team has informed the Big Ten Conference that it will not accept a bowl invitation, a team spokesperson said Sunday.

The decision was made because of the current suspension of all program activities related to a rise in cases of players and staff members testing positive for the coronavirus.

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The Terps (2-3) had four games canceled because of COVID-19 concerns this season, including a game scheduled this past weekend against Michigan State.

On Thursday, the team announced that 15 players and six staff members tested positive between Dec. 10-16. Further testing conducted Thursday morning revealed three more potential positives cases pending polymerase chain reaction tests. All infected individuals have been moved to designated isolation spaces, and all activities have been paused.

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“This has been a season of promise and of adversity,” Terps coach Mike Locksley said in a statement last week. “Our team has demonstrated a tremendous work ethic, resolve and displayed Maryland pride throughout this unique season. We have battled two opponents each week, the team we matched up with on the field and COVID.”

This is the second such outbreak within the Terps program. Back on Nov. 11, the team suspended all activities and canceled a game against then-No. 3 Ohio State scheduled for Nov. 14 after eight players had tested positive for COVID-19 over the previous seven days.

Eight days later, the school canceled the game against Michigan State after 15 more players and seven staff members had tested positive. One of those staff members was Locksley, who self-reported himself after experiencing what he called “minor symptoms” on Nov. 17.

A game against Michigan scheduled for Dec. 5 was also canceled after the Wolverines halted their season, citing a rise in the number of coronavirus cases within the program. Maryland’s four cancellations this season are the most in the Big Ten, and the Terps will have played the fewest games of any team in the league.

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The Terps fell, 27-24, in overtime to Rutgers (3-6) on Dec. 12 in their regular-season finale. Four starters — sophomore quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, junior inside linebacker Chance Campbell (Calvert Hall), freshman middle linebacker Ruben Hyppolite II and junior cornerback Jakorian Bennett — were suddenly scratched before the game due to “medical reasons,” according to a team spokesperson. Also, defensive coordinator Jon Hoke and special teams coordinator/linebackers coach George Helow were absent.

Baltimore Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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