Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said the Buckeyes were overly cautious in how they held out a number of players last week against Rutgers, but this week those players are returning just in time for Saturday’s matchup against No. 8 Penn State.
The biggest name back for Ohio State is All-American defensive end Chase Young, who missed the last two games for borrowing money and paying it back. Young will return to the OSU starting lineup and Day dismissed any thought this week that the defensive end would have some kind of a pitch count.
Young, who has 13.5 sacks on the season, is currently one sack away from breaking the current single-season school sack record.
His return coincides with that of his linemate, senior Jonathon Cooper, who has missed much of the season with injury. Cooper has played in just four games this year, tallying three tackles on the season.
Fifth-year senior cornerback Damon Arnette also returns. He was chief among the overly cautious decisions last week. Arnette has played with a cast on his wrist all season long and has sometimes had to leave the game due to pain management. It hasn’t limited his play when he has been on the field, however.
Arnette will return to his starting spot along with third-year players Jeff Okudah and Shaun Wade. Sevyn Banks, who stepped in for Arnette last week, will continue to be a valuable provider of depth.
Junior middle linebacker Baron Browning is also back, ready to split time with starter Tuf Borland. Browning’s return gives the Buckeyes even more options on defense, which is bad news for Penn State.
Senior wide receiver Austin Mack finally returns as well after being a game-time decision for most of the last month. Mack has missed the last three games, and his departure came following his two best games of the season.
The Buckeyes are not expected to be missing any starters this week, though reserve guard Gavin Cupp and backup free safety Josh Proctor are both listed as unavailable. Freshman running back Marcus Crowley is out as well following his knee injury against Maryland.
Reserve offensive tackle Josh Alabi has been moved up to a game-time decision after being out for a bit, so that is good news for the Buckeyes. Reserve guard Matt Jones is also a game-time decision, which is a good sign following what could have been a nasty injury in the Maryland game.
Junior defensive tackle Haskell Garrett is also a game-time decision. He has been a valuable backup for the Buckeyes all season long and rotates in quite regularly. If he can’t go, Ohio State will certainly miss his depth and production.
There are no other game-time decisions.
Here is the entire list of players who are out this week: WR Kamryn Babb, RB Marcus Crowley, OG Gavin Cupp, OL Noah Donald, WR Ellijah Gardiner, SAF Ronnie Hickman, DT Brett Novick, SAF Josh Proctor, WR CJ Saunders, DT Taron Vincent.
Baron Browning is not listed on the depth chart below, but that is an error by Ohio State.