Ohio State Suspensions Add Up As Rose Bowl Nears

Patrick NobbeContributor IDecember 28, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Wide receiver Ray Small #82 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball during a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions on November 7, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Ohio State won 24-7. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes are losing players by the day as their Jan. 1 showdown against the University of Oregon approaches.

Team sources are confirming that senior wide receiver Ray Small, senior defensive lineman Robert Rose, and sophomore running back Bo DeLande will all miss the New Year’s Day bowl game for a violation of team rules.

This announcement comes on the heals of Ohio State officially ruling out freshman wide receiver Duron Carter for the Rose Bowl.  It is believed that Carter is academically ineligible.

The biggest loss of these four has to be Small. Although he has spent most of his career in coach Jim Tressel’s doghouse, Small has emerged as a constant contributor to the 2009 Buckeyes.

It is no secret that coach Tressel wins games with defense and special teams. Small’s loss as a kick returner could seriously impact field position and possibly the outcome.

During two crucial Big Ten wins over Wisconsin and Penn State, Small provided big returns that swung momentum, and ultimately the game, in Ohio State’s favor.

The loss of Small could also effect the offense, where he is the teams No. 3 receiver.  He is second on the team in receptions with 15, and his big play ability makes defenses always have to account for his whereabouts.

Small’s offensive role might have even been increased with the loss of No. 4 receiver Carter to suspension. Also, coach Tressel loves to throw wrinkles into the offense during the time before a bowl game, and Small would have been a prime candidate to be showcased.

A team never likes to lose linemen before a big game, but the Buckeyes should be able shake off the loss of Rose. Ohio State's strongest unit is their defensive line, which goes eight deep.