Ohio State's depth at offensive tackle and middle linebacker will be challenged on Friday.
Starting left tackle Thayer Munford is a game-time decision, and backup tackle Joshua Alabi is listed as unavailable for the Buckeyes' game against Northwestern. At middle linebacker, Ohio State will be without Baron Browning for the Friday night matchup, and Teradja Mitchell is a game-time decision after missing the past two games due to an undisclosed injury.
For the second game in a row, redshirt senior wideout C.J. Saunders is a game-time decision. Jake Hausmann, a backup tight end, and with backup wide receiver Ellijah Gardiner will also be unavailable to play on Friday. Three players – Kamryn Babb, Ronnie Hickman and Taron Vincent – will continue long-term injury recoveries and remain unavailable against Northwestern, per Ohio State's status report released Friday morning
|Ohio State Status Report for Northwestern|
LB Teradja Mitchell
OT Thayer Munford
WR C.J. Saunders
WR Kamryn Babb
OT Joshua Alabi
LB Baron Browning
TE Jake Hausmann
S Ronnie Hickman
WR Ellijah Gardiner
DT Taron Vincent
DT Noah Donald (walk-on)
The status report does not disclose a reason for any player's unavailability, and it does not dictate a time frame of an expected return.
With Alabi unavailable and Munford a game-time decision versus the Wildcats, the Buckeyes will once again navigate their shaky offensive tackle health. If Munford is able to play, he'll start at left tackle with Branden Bowen at right tackle. However, should he be forced to miss the game, Nicholas Petit-Frere would likely start his first-ever game in college. If that situation were to occur, it's not clear which side of the line Petit-Frere and Bowen would each man.
Browning's absence will put Tuf Borland in the position to likely play his most significant role of the season. His play is only made more important due to the uncertainty of whether Mitchell will return to action. Browning played 15 more snaps than Borland in the first six games of the season.