Branden Bowen A Game-Time Decision, Jonathon Cooper Returns for Ohio State's Game Against Nebraska

By Colin Hass-Hill on September 27, 2019 at 10:41 am
Branden Bowen and Jonathon Cooper

Ohio State will return two veteran defensive linemen but could play without a starting offensive lineman this weekend.

Jonathon Cooper will be back in action for the Buckeyes' road showdown with Nebraska on Saturday after missing the first four games due to injury, per the team's status report released on Friday morning. Branden Bowen, though, could miss this weekend's game. The right tackle is listed as a game-time decision after starting the first four games of the season.

Ohio State Status Report for Nebraska
OT Branden Bowen
WR Kamryn Babb
LB Teradja Mitchell
S Ronnie Hickman
DE Tyreke Smith
H-B C.J. Saunders
DT Taron Vincent
DT Noah Donald (walk-on)

Fifth-year senior defensive tackle Robert Landers will play against the Cornhuskers after not playing in Ohio State's win against Miami (Ohio). Reserve sophomore safety Josh Proctor also will return after missing last week's game versus the RedHawks. With Isaiah Pryor's transfer, he'll serve as Jordan Fuller's backup. 

Tyreke Smith, a backup defensive end, will remain out of action this weekend after suffering an undisclosed injury against Indiana two weeks ago. Reserve middle linebacker Teradja Mitchell is listed as unavailable on the status report and will miss his first game of the season.

Neither senior captain wide receiver C.J. Saunders nor defensive tackle Taron Vincent have played yet this season, and both will remain unavailable for this weekend's game. Safety Ronnie Hickman and wideout Kamryn Babb also are still out as they recover from long-term injuries.

Ohio State does not disclose how long any player will remain out or the reason for anyone's unavailability.

If Bowen misses Saturday's game, redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere will likely make his first career start at right tackle. In the preseason, Bowen beat Petit-Frere to win the starting job. Out of high school, Petit-Frere was the No. 7 overall prospect and the top-ranked offensive tackle in the class of 2018. He made a well-chronicled weight gain behind an 8,000-calorie diet that took him from 268 pounds as a freshman enrollee to 295 pounds as a second-year lineman.

Ohio State did not release a reason why it has listen Bowen as a game-time decision, though he has a lengthy injury history. He started the first six games of the 2017 season at right guard before suffering a broken leg. In order to fully recover, Bowen needed three surgeries and did not play a snap in 2018. 

Cooper, who started every game last year, reportedly dealt with an ankle injury in the season's first month. Now, he returns to the starting lineup across from Chase Young. Tyler Friday, Zach Harrison and Javontae Jean-Baptiste will be the top backups at defensive end with Smith still sidelined.

Landers rejoins Davon Hamilton and Tommy Togiai in the rotation at nose tackle.

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