Saturday's Notre Dame road game at Wake Forest shifts to Dec. 12

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame’s unintended pause in its football season will result in back-to-back open dates.

Saturday’s ACC road game at Wake Forest (0-2 overall, 0-2 ACC) has been rescheduled for Dec. 12 after an outbreak in COVID-19 cases within the Irish team this week prompted ND officials Tuesday to put practices on hold and postpone the game itself.

Both teams had a common open date of Oct. 3, but with seventh-ranked Notre Dame (2-0, 1-0) having 13 players in isolation and another 10 in quarantine, the turnaround for the Irish to have adequate time and players to prep for that weekend also proved to be too short.

ACC protocols stipulate that a player testing positive can't return before 10 days and must undergo cardiac testing while in isolation. A player identified through contact tracing must quarantine for 14 days.

The isolated players cannot resume conditioning, per ACC guidelines, until the isolation period has ended. Quarantined players can work out individually.

The next game on the revised schedule has Notre Dame hosting Florida State (0-1, 0-1) on Oct. 10.

Wake Forest, meanwhile, will play its originally scheduled Oct. 9 non-conference game against Campbell this Friday.

St. Joseph County deputy health officer Mark Fox, who has been a consultant for Notre Dame on such matters, told WSBT-TV’s Max Lewis that another round of testing for the Irish roster will take place Wednesday.

Monday’s round of COVID-19 testing for 94 players revealed seven new positive tests.

The day prior, the program announced that 10 players sat out Saturday’s 52-0 win over South Florida at Notre Dame Stadium due to four positive tests results and six others placed in quarantine from contact tracing from last week's Tuesday-through-Friday window.

South Florida suspended all football activities on Wednesday and postponed its Saturday game with Florida Atlantic. The Bulls tested their roster twice Friday and again on Monday with no new positives reported from either round of testing and were scheduled for more tests Wednesday. USF did hold seven players out of the Notre Dame game as the result of previous COVID-19 testing.

"With the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff as well as mitigating the spread of the virus as our primary concern, given the outbreak among team members of our most recent opponent and subsequent contact tracing within our team, postponement of this Saturday's game is the right thing to do," USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said.

Notre Dame previously paused practice Aug. 19-21, when five players tested positive for COVID-19 and six others were placed in quarantine. All Notre Dame football media availability has been canceled for the rest of this week.

“With student-athlete health and safety our primary focus, we will continue to follow our prevention protocols and ongoing testing procedures,” ND head coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday in a statement. “We managed an increase in positivity rates in August, and the players handled it wonderfully.

“We knew COVID would present challenges throughout the season, and we'll always put student-athlete health and safety at the forefront of our decision making. We look forward to resuming team activities and getting back on the playing field.”

Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson (left) shakes hands with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly after an Irish victory in Winston-Salem, N.C. in 2018. The two teams meet again at that venue on Sept. 26.

(Home Games in CAPS)

Sept. 12: DUKE, 2:30 p.m. EDT

Sept. 19: SOUTH FLORIDA, 2:30 p.m. EDT

Sept. 26: Open (at Wake Forest, POSTPONED)

Oct. 3: Open

Oct. 10: FLORIDA STATE, 7:30 p.m. EDT

Oct. 17: LOUISVILLE, 2:30 p.m. EDT

Oct. 24: at Pittsburgh, TBA

Oct. 31: at Georgia Tech, TBA

Nov. 7: CLEMSON, 7:30 p.m. EST

Nov. 14: at Boston College, TBA

Nov. 21: Open

Nov. 27: at North Carolina, TBA


Dec. 12: at Wake Forest, TBA

Dec. 19: ACC Championship Game at Charlotte, N.C., TBA