Stanford linebacker Jordan Fox (10) is one of four Cardinal starters ruled out against Oregon State. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Stanford will be without four starters because of injuries — and not COVID-19 issues — when it plays Oregon State this weekend, coach David Shaw said Thursday.
Shaw added that the game Saturday night in Corvallis, Oregon, (7:30 p.m., ESPNU) is not in doubt because of any concerns related to the novel coronavirus.
Sophomore cornerback Salim Turner-Muhammed and fifth-year outside linebacker Jordan Fox have been ruled out against the Beavers (2-3), Shaw said. They joined starting wide receivers Michael Wilson and Connor Wedington who suffered injuries last week against Washington.
The defensive players will be replaced by sophomore cornerback Zahran Manley and sophomore linebacker Stephon Herron. Both players will be making their first career starts. Sophomore Elijah Higgins and junior Brycen Tremayne are making their first starts at receiver, and either Bryce Farrell or Casey Filkins, both freshmen, are expected to take over punt return duties in Wilson’s absence.
On Wednesday, Washington had to pause all football-related activities four days after its 31-26 upset loss to Stanford because of an increase in positive COVID-19 results. But the Cardinal players are OK, Shaw said.
“Knock on wood, we’re going on our 12th straight week without a legitimate positive,” he said. “(Washington coach Jimmy Lake) feels very comfortable that everybody they put on the field was virus-free at the time and those positives happened sometime after the game, so we don’t have any concerns.”
Stanford (2-2) has been staying at a hotel near Oregon State’s campus and practicing at the Beavers’ facility this week because of Santa Clara County’s ban on professional, college, high school and youth contact sports. Shaw said that Oregon State’s president, F. King Alexander, visited the team earlier in the week to ensure that everything was going well.
“Everything’s been great,” Shaw said. “Couldn’t be more positive about the experience. We live here right now and we’ll live someplace else next week.”
Pac-12 officials have yet to announce the game schedule for next weekend.
Four Oregon State players missed last Saturday’s loss to Utah because of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing protocols, including star running back Jermar Jefferson. But Jefferson has been cleared to play against the Cardinal, which puts added pressure on Herron and the rest of the linebackers.
Jefferson is averaging 168.8 yards a game this season, and his seven rushing touchdowns are tied with Stanford’s Austin Jones for the most in the conference.