San Diego State Football Mountain West coronavirus
Karl Dorrell, a Helix High graduate, will coach the Colorado Buffaloes as the team faces SDSU Saturday. Officials hastily added the game to the schedule due to COVID-19 cancellations. Photo credit:

San Diego State will play a non-conference game at Colorado at 2 p.m. Saturday in a contest featuring a coach with East County connections.

The Buffaloes are 2-0 under first-year head coach Karl Dorrell, a 1982 graduate of Helix Charter High School in La Mesa.

Dorrell has served in multiple roles in both college football and the NFL. He returned to Colorado after working as receivers coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2019.

He served in that role in Colorado in 1992 early in his career, and followed with positions at Arizona State, before rising to lead UCLA’s program for five years. He’s also worked in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Houston Texans.

The Aztecs will play Dorrell’s Buffaloes because Mountain West officials canceled the Aztecs’ originally scheduled game Friday at Fresno State due to COVID-19 contact tracing within the Bulldogs’ program.

The Pac-12 canceled Colorado’s scheduled game at USC Thursday because USC did not have the had COVID-19 positives and exposure.

With concerns mounting about USC, as a contingency Colorado athletic director Rick George contacted his counterpart at San Diego State, John David Wicker.

The game will be the season’s first non-conference game for a Pac-12 team.

The Pac-12 CEO Group approved such games last week, reversing a previous decision. The conference set criteria for a non-conference football opponent to be scheduled, including making the non-conference game a home game for the Pac-12 team. It also must be broadcast by a Pac-12 television partner.

The Aztecs (3-2) seek to extend their recent dominance over Pac-12 opponents. San Diego State, 5-1 against the Pac-12 since 2016, won against UCLA last season, the team’s first victory over the Bruins after 21 losses and a tie.

The Buffaloes’ game last Saturday against Arizona State also fell off the schedule due to COVID-19 issues for the Sun Devils.

San Diego State lost to Colorado, 34-14, in the only prior game between the two teams, in 2002 in Boulder.

– Staff and wire reports