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Virus touches college football, from upending schedules to making coaches ill

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If coach Dana Holgorsen seemed relieved after his University of Houston football team finally played a game Thursday night, no one can blame him. Five times the Cougars had season-opening opponents either cancel or postpone games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When finally allowed on the field, the Cougars overcame five turnovers to outlast Tulane 49-31.

“We won, so that’s good, but there’s a lot of things we’ve got to get better at,” Holgorsen told reporters.

Houston’s story is only one of several to play out this season as colleges return to campus and try to find a way to coexist with COVID-19. Through Thursday, 26 FBS games had been postponed or canceled since the season began. That’s in addition to the upheaval of conferences retooling their schedules for later starts and shorter seasons.

The Gophers are scheduled to open a nine-game Big Ten season on Oct. 24 against Michigan.

In Houston’s case, the season was supposed to start Sept. 3 vs. Rice, but the Owls dropped out because of COVID-19. The next game, vs. Washington State, was eliminated when the Pac-12 originally canceled its season. The next game, vs. Memphis, was postponed, and the Cougars scrambled to fill that date with Baylor, until the Bears canceled 48 hours before kickoff. North Texas became the fifth program to beg out, canceling the Sept. 26 game.

“You can’t compare this to anything. … This is on a whole ‘nother level,” Holgorsen said earlier this week. “The one thing that has given us hope is we sit here and watch other teams playing.”

Familiar names impacted

When Notre Dame and Florida State meet Saturday night in South Bend, Ind., on display will be two teams whose seasons have been impacted greatly by COVID-19.

The fifth-ranked Fighting Irish return after their Sept. 26

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Deejay Dallas gets first touches, Travis Homer gets first career TD in return to Miami

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The Seattle Seahawks improved to 4-0 for this season after beating the Miami Dolphins on Sunday 31-23.

For two running backs with the Seahawks, Sunday’s game and where they played brought back a lot of memories and meant more to them than just another game.

Rooking running back Deejay Dallas and second-year running back Travis Homer both were teammates and played for the Miami Hurricanes during their college years, and both were able to see the field on Sunday as they did on the field on Saturday’s.

Running back Chris Carson suffered a sprained knee agains the Dallas Cowboys last week. Although he scored two touchdowns and seemed like his old self, the Seahawks brought in Dallas and Homer to help pick up the slack if Carson needed a rest.

Homer recorded the first touchdown catch of his NFL career, and Dallas saw his first two carries of his career for a total of eight yards.

After the game, Dallas wasn’t worried about the numbers but was reminiscent of being back at Hard Rock.

“It just kind of came back around full circle,” Dallas said about getting his first touches in his NFL career. “ I remember scoring my first touchdown as a Hurricane in Hard Rock, and today I got my first carry as a Seahawk in Hard Rock. It came back around full circle.”

Both Dallas and Homer were effective when they got their chances on the field, and with Carson leading the pack in his group, wide receiver D.K. Metcalf knows that the running back group is talented on all fronts.

 

“We got backs for days in my opinion,” Metcalf said. “I think Deejay Dallas really stepped up and showed up, Homer got the first touchdown of his career. I mean we got a lot of great