It looks like Chris Olave will be back to face Clemson.
Ohio State missed its star receiver in its Big Ten Championship matchup with Northwestern, but Ryan Day indicated Olave will be back in time to compete in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson.
During an interview with ESPN, Day fielded a question about developing rhythm and continuity with the lineup constantly in flux, and he mentioned getting Olave back.
"That's the problem we've had. Guys have been kind of in and out, but they just keep finding a way to win," Day said. "But I think – we get Chris (Olave) back, now the offensive linemen, three of those guys this is their second game in a month – so that's been the challenge. But I think us all practicing together, practicing at a high level, understanding that we're going to go good on good the best we can to get the best look we possibly can to keep the timing up, I think this is our best chance."
Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch later reported that Olave will be eligible to play in the College Football Playoff.
This comes after the Big Ten changed its rule sidelining athletes at least 21 days following a positive COVID-19 test, reducing that time period to 17 days. If the rule remained at 21, Olave would have likely been unable to compete in the College Football Playoff semifinal if he tested positive.
Ohio State was out several other key players against Northwestern, as well, and it's not yet clear how many – if any – others are able to return under the conference's rule change.
"A good amount of them, yep," Day said when asked about potentially getting players out. "But then there's also some that are really close based on what that number is that we're talking about."
The Big Ten decided to reduce the minimum number of days all athletes – not just football players – who test positive for coronavirus must sit out of competition for a minimum of 17 days, per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.
Olave was at the center of the play that ended last year's game against Clemson – and Ohio State's season – when Justin Fields threw an interception in the end zone at the game's closing seconds. Olave thought Fields was scrambling and broke off his route, but Fields threw it to where Olave should have been.
“It was a one-on-one with me on the safety, and I was supposed to run the post,” Olave said following the 29-23 loss to Clemson. “But when I looked back, I thought he scrambled, so I tried to work the second part of my route. He ended up throwing it, and that's how the game ended.”
“It's terrible,” Olave said after the game. “Worst feeling in the world.”
Olave carried that feeling into this season, wanting a chance to prove himself.
“I care so much about this team, this university,” Olave said. “So I don’t think I’ve gotten over it still, and I still got that chip on my shoulder and I want to show the world."
And it looks like he's going to get his chance.