Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, two other starters and six reserves did not play in UCLA’s 38-35 loss at Oregon Saturday due to COVID-19 protocols.
Thompson-Robinson tweeted Friday night that he did not have the coronavirus, after the university announced that two individuals with the UCLA football program and three members of its athletics support staff tested positive for COVID-19.
On Saturday morning, the junior said tweeted that he “will not have the opportunity to play vs. Oregon today for reasons out of my control. Frustrated I can’t help the team but they will still be great regardless! #GoBruins.”
Starting safety Quentin Lake, starting wide receiver Jaylen Erwin, receiver Delon Hurt, linebacker Kain Medrano and running backs Kazmeir Allen, Keegan Jones and Martell Irby also missed the game against the Ducks, ranked 11th in the most recent poll conducted by The Associated Press.
“I think sometime late Wednesday or Thursday we kind of knew we wouldn’t have those guys,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly told reporters after the game.
None of the contract tracing that forced the players to miss the Pac-12 Conference game at Eugene, Oregon was related to a birthday party for Thompson-Robinson, Kelly said.
Thompson-Robinson’s mother, Melva Thompson-Robinson, is a professor in social and behavioral health at UNLV and the executive director of the Center for Health Disparities Research in its School of Community Health Sciences. She came to “celebrate his birthday,” Kelly said.
“If there’s one family I’ve been around that understands COVID it’s Dorian’s family,” Kelly said. “His mom’s awesome. She’s been a rock star through this whole thing in terms of helping other people and parents understand what it is. She has a really good grasp of it. She would never put her son in harm’s way.”
Redshirt freshman Chase Griffin started in place of Thompson-Robinson, completing 19 of 31 passes for 195 yards and one touchdown. Griffin had never thrown a pass in a college game before Saturday.
“I thought he was outstanding today,” Kelly said. “He’s a competitor. Everybody wants an opportunity and when you have your opportunity are you ready? I thought Chase did a heck of a job today and I’m really proud of how he played.”
Griffin had two passes intercepted, the first returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Jordan Happle as time expired in the first half.
Happle’s touchdown gave Oregon (3-0) a 24-21 halftime lead. The Bruins (1-2) never led again.
The Ducks also converted the other interception to a touchdown late in the third quarter, along with first-quarter fumbles by Griffin and Qwuantrezz Knight on a kickoff return.
“So proud of this team! Even more proud of @ChaseQB11 and this offense! #GoBruins,” Thompson-Robinson tweeted after the game.
Neither individual with the football program who tested positive traveled with the team for Saturday’s game, an athletics spokesperson told City News Service.
Anyone with a positive result immediately enters isolation for 10 days from the date of the test or until the verification of a false positive.
Anyone deemed to have been in close contact with someone who tested positive goes into quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact.
Since UCLA Athletics began testing on June 22, 9,660 tests have been administered with 22 positives among players, coaches and staff, 0.23%.
UCLA does not release the names of individuals who have tested positive or specify their roles in their programs in an attempt to protect their privacy.