Sun Bowl teams speak out on COVID concerns

Sun Bowl

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Time until kickoff for the 88th Annual Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl on Friday continues to wind down.

Washington State, who was originally scheduled to play University of Miami, will now face off with Central Michigan in two days.

The Cougars have been in El Paso since Sunday and have been practicing at Eastwood High School.

Meanwhile, the Chippewas are holding their practices at the University of Arizona’s Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona. Sun Bowl officials said that CMU would arrive in El Paso on Thursday, the day before the game.

With the match up set, both programs hope that they will get the opportunity to play Friday, as the college football bowl season has been hit hard by COVID-19.

The Holiday Bowl, which was scheduled to be played Tuesday, became the latest and fifth postseason college football game to be canceled when UCLA was forced to pull out just hours before kickoff because of COVID-19 issues with the team.

Wednesday, Washington State head coach Jake Dickert and Central Michigan head coach Jim McElwain weighed in on their concerns about COVID-19 possibly affecting Friday’ game.

“I’d love to play the game tomorrow (Thursday),” said Dickert. “We’re doing eveything we can, we are isolated pretty much at our hotel and at every event, and just trying to make sure we get to Friday morning’s kick-off and we’ve been great all season and anticipate being great for Friday.”

“What you learn going through all this, going up through last year is just that you can’t worry about it,” said McElwain. “You got to move forward and whatever something throws you, it throws you and you go from there. So, I’m I concerned about it? No. Can it happen? Yeah. And if it happens, we figure out how we get on the plane to go home.”

Last year, the Sun Bowl game was canceled due to COVID-19. That was the first time in 87 years that the bowl game was not played.

Football fans of El Paso, Washington State, and Central Michigan hope to see both teams take the field Friday, December 31st at 10 a.m. for the 88th Annual Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl game.

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.