Ohio State linebacker sharing the MLB role with Tuf Borland

Ohio State football: Fast-rising LB among those out for Northwestern game

The school announced Thursday morning offensive tackle Josh Alabi and linebacker Baron Browning are among eight players unavailable for the game against the Wildcats. 

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Alabi is the third tackle and started the past two games in place of Branden Bowen, though Bowen replaced him in the first half of the 34-10 win over Michigan State two weeks ago. 

Alabi’s status could loom larger if left tackle Thayer Munford is unable to play, and Munford is listed as a game-time decision. 

If Munford and Alabi are both out, the starter at left tackle likely would be redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere, a highly regarded prospect who would be making his first start in a prime-time Big Ten road game. 

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, right, runs up field as teammate Nicholas Petit-Frere, left, blocks Florida Atlantic defensive end Tim Bonner during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Florida Atlantic 45-21. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Photo: Jay LaPrete/AP

Browning splits time at middle linebacker with Tuf Borland and has been one of the team’s most productive defensive players of late. The five-star junior from Texas is third on the team 23 tackles and has proven to be an effective pass rusher in some of the Buckeyes’ sub packages. 

With Browning out, sophomore Dallas Gant is listed as the backup middle linebacker. 

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Backup linebacker Teradja Mitchell and reserve slot receiver C.J. Saunders are also listed as game-time decisions while tight end Jake Hausmann, receivers Kamryn Babb and Ellijah Gardiner, safety Ronnie Hickman and defensive tackles Taron Vincent and Noah Donald are all out. 

Also of note is one player’s absence from the injury report. Running back Demario McCall, who is among the team’s top return men, is available after missing the last game with what head coach Ryan Day said was an injury that occurred in pregame warmups for Michigan State. 

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