Sophomore defensive end Tyreke Smith and fifth-year senior right tackle Branden Bowen are back this week for the Buckeyes after missing last Saturday’s game in Nebraska.
Smith was injured in the first half of the Miami (OH) game and has not played since. There were some rumblings that he could be out for much longer than just one week, but his return comes at a good time because defensive end classmate Tyler Friday is a game-time decision. He was a game-time decision for the season opener against Florida Atlantic as well and did not play.
Bowen’s return at right tackle strengthens an already strong Buckeyes offensive line. Fifth-year senior Josh Alabi stepped in seamlessly for Bowen last week and the Ohio State offensive train kept on rolling.
The Buckeyes could also be getting another fifth-year senior back this week, as H-back CJ Saunders is a game-time decision. Saunders has yet to play this season. He has contributed 27 receptions for 297 yards and a touchdown over the previous two seasons. He has also been an example for the young Buckeye receivers over the last couple of years.
Fifth-year senior tight end Rashod Berry is also a game-time decision. If he can’t go, the Buckeyes’ three other quality tight ends will have to suffice.
There is a new name on the unavailable list this week, as redshirt sophomore receiver Ellijah Gardiner is out. He has one catch for 10 yards on the season.
Also out again this week is sophomore linebacker Teradja Mitchell. He missed last week’s game as well. He currently has eight tackles and one tackle for loss in his four games this season.
The rest of the unavailable list remains populated by the guys who have been there all season long: redshirt freshman receiver Kamryn Babb, walk-on defensive lineman Noah Donald, freshman safety Ronnie Hickman, and sophomore defensive tackle Taron Vincent.
When Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was asked this week if Taron Vincent might miss the entire season, he responded with, “I don’t know about that. We’ll have to see.”
Babb has been seen leaving the practice field with his teammates dressed and in good spirits. He has spent most of his time at Ohio State recovering from ACL tears. His most recent injury occurred in March, so he is still just seven months out or so from an injury that generally takes two or three more months than that to be fully healed and ready for action.
Here is the full Availability Report from Ohio State.
TE Rasod Berry
DE Tyler Friday
H-Back CJ Saunders
WR Kamryn Babb
DT Noah Donald
WR Ellijah Gardiner
SAF Ronnie Hickman
LB Teradja Mitchell
DT Taron Vincent