The Colorado football team will play against San Diego State instead of No. 18 Southern California on Saturday after the Trojans were forced to drop out due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the Pac-12 Conference announced Thursday.

USC wrote in a statement that it did not have "the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game at a specific position group as a result of a number of positive football student-athlete COVID-19 cases and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contact tracing protocols."

The canceled game between the Trojans (3-0) and the Buffaloes (2-0), due to be played in Los Angeles, was declared a no-contest, and the Aztecs (3-2) stepped in to book a trip to Boulder, Colo.

Last week, the Pac-12 abandoned its plans to have a conference-only schedule, allowing teams to pick up games against nonconference foes if the new opponent followed the Pac-12's COVID-19 protocols.

Trojans coach Clay Helton said in a statement, "We are disappointed for our players and fans and those from Colorado that Saturday's game will not be played, but the health and safety of everyone in both programs is of the utmost priority.

"Our players have worked hard since the summer not only to prepare for this season, but to do so in a safe manner by following all health protocols. I applaud their discipline and sacrifice in doing so. We will continue to test and monitor our players, coaches and staff and take guidance from health officials as we prepare for our remaining games."

San Diego State was due to oppose Fresno State on Friday, but that game was canceled Friday because of COVID-19 contact tracing in the Bulldogs' program.

The Colorado athletic department said in a statement that athletic director Rick George spoke with San Diego State AD John David Wicker earlier this week to set up a contingency plan.

"It is unfortunate that our game at Southern California had to be canceled, but as we all continue to maintain, the most important concern we all have is the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff," George said. "After the Pac-12 CEOs created some requirements for possible nonconference opponents to fill any vacancies created by cancellations, we moved earlier this week to find a possible opponent to replace the Trojans. When San Diego State's game at Fresno State was canceled for similar reasons, I spoke with John David and we put an agreement in place if USC could not play."

In the only previous meeting between Colorado and San Diego State, the Buffaloes won 34-14 at home in 2002.

--Field Level Media

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