Auburn Tigers pause activities after 12 positive tests

Auburn paused team activities on Tuesday after nine players and three staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during the team's open week.

The SEC on Monday postponed Auburn's game against Mississippi State because of COVID-19 issues with Mississippi State, which caused the program to pause activities. But Auburn is dealing with its own coronavirus challenges, coach Gus Malzahn told reporters Tuesday.

Auburn had not received any positive COVID-19 tests since Sept. 12. In addition to the 12 positive tests, a number of other players are in quarantine because of contact tracing. Auburn is the third SEC team to pause activities this week, joining Mississippi State and Texas A&M. The Alabama-LSU game is also in doubt because of COVID-19 issues at LSU.

"The unique thing about it is we had seven straight weeks where we had zero positives," Malzahn said Tuesday. "Our guys did a really good job. We'll get this thing under control and get prepared to play our next game."

Malzahn declined to provide specifics about the positive tests, saying only that they occurred during Auburn's open week.

The 24th-ranked Tigers are 4-2 and last played on Oct. 31, when they beat LSU 48-11 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn is next scheduled to play on Nov. 21, when it hosts Tennessee. The Auburn-Mississippi State game has been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 12 in Starkville, Mississippi.

"Our coaches are preparing [for Tennessee next week], but like I said, we're going to just take it day by day and get this thing under control," Malzahn said. "We knew this year that there would be some challenges. I told our team that there's going to be a week that we could have some challenges. We'll get through this, but the No. 1 thing is that we get this thing under control before we get back into our routine. I have a strong feeling we'll be able to do that in a short period of time."