He's back, and he's starting.
Two years and three surgeries after his six-game stint as Ohio State's starting right guard ended prematurely due to a broken leg in 2017, Branden Bowen will start at right tackle for Ohio State on Saturday, head coach Ryan Day announced Tuesday.
Bowen beat out redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere to win the starting spot, though Petit-Frere is also expected to play on Saturday, Day said.
Truly blessed!— Branden Bowen (@BrandenBowen) August 27, 2019
The fifth-year senior joins left tackle Thayer Munford, left guard Jonah Jackson, center Josh Myers and right guard Wyatt Davis on the offensive line. Munford is the only returning starter on the line, though Jackson started the entire 2018 season at Rutgers and Davis started the Buckeyes' final two games last season.
Since suffering his injury on Oct. 7, 2017, Bowen has not played a single snap in a game. Due to complications in his recovery, Bowen was not healthy enough to return to action until late last season, and the Buckeyes opted not to play him at all last year.
“Coming into camp, the week leading up to it when we had some time off, I was sitting at home thinking, 'This is it. I've got to go now. I don't have a choice. I've got to play or look past football,’” Bowen said earlier this month. “I had to make that choice to come in and compete for a starting job and just keep pushing for it.”
Bowen gives the Buckeyes two senior starters on the offensive line, along with Jackson.
The Buckeyes open the season at home on Saturday at noon against Florida Atlantic.