Several teams will be shorthanded this college football season due to COVID-19. Even though West Virginia did not see an uptick in positive test results, it will not have its entire roster this weekend.
According to Mike Casazza of EerSports.com, the Mountaineers have suspended 11 players for their season opener because of a violation of team rules. Apparently the coaching staff knew it would be without these players for its first game and practiced accordingly.
West Virginia will not have T.J. Banks, Chase Behrndt, Zach Davis, Zack Dobson, Isaiah Esdale, J.P. Hadley, Mike O’Laughlin, T.J. Simmons, Tairiq Stewart, Junior Uzebu and David Vincent-Okoli for its season opener against Eastern Kentucky.
The big losses here are Behrndt and Uzebu, as both players are listed as starting offensive linemen for the Mountaineers. This could result in protection issues for starting quarterback Jarret Doege.
BREAKING: Sources tell @EerSportsDotCom #WVU has suspended 11 players for the opener against Eastern Kentucky. The list of names includes multiple starters. 🆓
🔗 https://t.co/HevZs6Vew3 pic.twitter.com/Vjft7IPDsf
— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) September 12, 2020
Fortunately for West Virginia, it’ll have all 11 players back for its second game of the season. Head coach Neal Brown is going to need his team at full strength if it wants to upset Oklahoma State.
Despite not having 11 players for this afternoon’s game, the Mountaineers are overwhelming favorites against Colonels.
In fact, ESPN’s Football Power Index gives West Virginia a 98.8 percent chance of defeating Eastern Kentucky. Oddsmakers clearly agree with that prediction since the spread is sitting at 44.5 points.
Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. ET from Milan Puskar Stadium. You can watch West Virginia’s season opener on FS1.