Charlotte has O-line shortage, cancels UNC game

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Charlotte was forced to cancel its football game against North Carolina on Saturday because it did not have enough offensive linemen to safely play, the school announced Thursday.

Over the past two weeks, the school said, three players have tested positive for the coronavirus, but contact tracing led to several offensive linemen being placed in quarantine. Charlotte did not provide specific numbers on how many linemen had to be quarantined.

A total of 3,150 tests have been administered to Charlotte student-athletes, coaches and staff since June 10, with 20 positive cases reported. On Monday, 200 tests were administered with one positive.

Charlotte said the decision to cancel does not impact its home opener against Georgia State on Sept. 26. Charlotte lost 35-20 at Appalachian State last Saturday.

“We’re extremely disappointed to have to cancel our game at North Carolina. While I know our team is heartbroken, due to the number of players in quarantine, we could not safely play,” Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill said in a statement. “We very much appreciate the University of North Carolina having scheduled this game with us. Unfortunately, we do not currently share any common open dates to reschedule.”

Said UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham: “We knew when we decided to play football in this environment that cancellations would be a possibility, because the health and safety of our teams and community is our priority.”

North Carolina, which beat Syracuse 31-6 in its opener, will use this weekend as an open week. The Tar Heels are looking to schedule a nonconference opponent during their scheduled bye on Sept. 26.

“We’re disappointed we won’t have a chance to play this weekend, but completely understand and appreciate Charlotte’s transparency,” UNC coach Mack Brown said in a statement. “We were looking forward to competing against Coach [Will] Healy’s group. As you know, we’re good friends so I hate this for him and his team. Hopefully, everyone affected is okay and we wish them the best as they move through the season.”

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