If you want to blame anyone for the Music City Bowl not being played, you can direct your anger at Eli Drinkwitz. Just don’t blame his players.

That was the message the leader of the Missouri program had to share following the official cancellation of the upcoming postseason matchup with Iowa.

The game was scheduled to be played on Wednesday, Dec. 30 but was canceled on Sunday evening. The cancellation came following a COVID outbreak within Missouri’s program.

Following the news, Drinkwitz opened up his Sunday night press conference with the following statement.

“First and foremost, I want to say we are disappointed,” Drinkwitz said. “We were very excited about heading to Nashville and being a part of the Music City Bowl and know that’s a tremendous bowl game and really wanted to be a part of Nashville’s healing and moving forward after the incident that occurred on Christmas morning.

“Disappointed and apologized to Iowa for not being able to get our guys to the finish line. We did everything in our power to try and move forward, but ultimately, with dealing with this virus, you have to put the health and safety and well-being of not only your student-athletes but the community, our staff at the forefront. Had this been any other time in the summer, we would have needed to pause, so when that became apparent of what we needed to do, that’s what we did.”

“I hate it for our team. Our team worked extremely hard to get to this bowl game. I was very excited about the opportunity to compete but we won’t get that opportunity now.”

While that statement may have been enough, Drinkwitz addressed some of the negativity he’s seen from fans following the cancellation of the Music City Bowl.

He asked for any criticism to be directed at him and not his players as his first season in Columbia has officially come to an end with a 5-5 overall record.

“I do want to say this, if there was anyone to blame for this, it would fall on my shoulders,” Drinkwitz added. “As the head coach and leader of this organization, it is by no means our players’ fault or our organization’s health care or protocols. We have followed those stringently since they have become inception and we have done everything possible but if there was an easy way out of this predicament, the virus, I think this country would have already handled that.

“And so, for us to be belittled or beleaguered on social media, for our players to be challenged because they went home for Christmas is unfair. And if they want to direct that, ultimately as the head coach, you can place that blame on my shoulders. But our players didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just unfortunate that we are going through an ongoing pandemic.”