Thu, 28 Jan 2021

Ohio State without 4 key players for title game

Field Level Media
12 Jan 2021, 10:40 GMT+10

Ohio State senior placekicker Blake Haubeil will not participate in Monday's night's College Football Playoff championship game against Alabama after testing positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, defensive starters -- nose tackle Tommy Togiai and defensive end Tyreke Smith -- and reserve offensive lineman Dawand Jones also will miss the game. The Buckeyes ruled all four players out on their pregame status report.

Haubeil, who has made five of his seven field-goal attempts this season, announced his status on social media. He said he has not seen family members in four months in an attempt to avoid the virus, and claims to have not violated team safety protocols in recent days.

"Football isn't just something I do, it's a part of who I am," Haubeil wrote in an Instagram post. "Knowing I have so much more to give, and not having the opportunity to do so tonight, is one of the most gut-wrenching feelings I've ever experienced."

In addition to his five field goals, Haubeil has made all 24 of his extra-point attempts this season, including all seven in the semifinal victory over Clemson. He has made 28 field goals in his Ohio State career on 35 attempts and has made all 146 of his PAT attempts over the last three seasons.

Freshman kicker Jake Seibert, who was ESPN's fourth-ranked player at his position in the 2020 recruiting class, is expected to handle the kicking duties. Seibert missed his only field-goal attempt of the season.

Minus Togiai and Smith on the defensive line, Ohio State could rely more on Zach Harrison and Tyler Friday. Both players were unavailable for the Sugar Bowl against Clemson but were cleared to return this week. Jones is a key reserve, having allowed one pressure on 31 pass-blocking plays this season.

--Field Level Media

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