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The scene was set on a beautiful evening inside Petco Park in San Diego, California.
The home of the Padres, turned site of the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, was hours away from hosting UCLA (8-4) vs. No. 18 NC State (9-3).
Until, it wasn’t.
With the game set for an 8:00 p.m. ET kickoff, UCLA backed out less than five hours before due to COVID-19 issues within the program, leading to the game being postponed. Making its way from Raleigh, North Carolina, NC State logged over 2,500 miles to make it to The Golden State. UCLA, meanwhile, had a much shorter trip just south down the west coast of California.
Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren gave his thoughts on the situation, per ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.
“Felt lied to, to be honest,” Doeren said. “We felt like UCLA probably knew something was going on, didn’t tell anybody on our side. We had no clue they were up against that. I don’t feel like it was very well handled from their university. It would’ve been great to have had a heads-up, so two, three days ago we could’ve found a plan B. Disappointing.
“I don’t want this to diminish what happened here this year. This was an unfair thing that happened, and like all other unfair things, there’s not going to be a rationale that makes it feel good. We’re going to have to deal with it and get ready for what’s next.”
NC State was notably looking for its 10th win of the season, done just once before in the program’s history. That came in 2002, when the Wolfpack finished 11-3. Doeren said he had no idea about the Bruins’ COVID-19 issues until NC State athletic director Boo Corrigan notified him the game was off, minutes before UCLA announced it.
UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond issued a statement on Twitter, relaying his disappointment to everyone involved.
NC State is currently looking for a replacement opponent. As it stands, this is the fifth game to get postponed or canceled due to COVID-19.
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