Ohio State TE Cade Stover Taken to Hospital After Suffering Back Injury vs. Georgia

Erin Walsh

EVANSTON, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ohio State Buckeyes tight end Cade Stover (8) looks on during a college football game between the  Ohio State Buckeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats on October 8, 2022 at Ryan Field in Evanston, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ohio State Buckeyes tight end Cade Stover was transported to the hospital Saturday night after suffering a back injury in the Peach Bowl against Georgia, according to Cleveland.com's Stephen Means.

He exited holding his back after making a catch during the first quarter.

"They knew that he was having back spasms, but they wanted to be careful," ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe said on the broadcast (h/t Fan Nation's Andrew Lind). "C.J. Stroudβ€”before he left the fieldβ€”told him, 'Brother, no matter what happens, I love you and I've got you.'"

On Sunday, ESPN's Pete Thamel reported Stover's MRI came back negative and noted it revealed the tight end had suffered back spasms.

Ohio State's tight end depth behind Stover is thin, as Gee Scott Jr. entered the matchup as a game-time decision. Mitch Rossi, Joe Royer and Sam Hart will each see increased playing time.

Rossi appeared in 12 games for the Buckeyes entering Saturday's College Football Playoff semifinal, catching two passes for 19 yards and one touchdown. Royer appeared in just four games for the Buckeyes this season, while Hart hadn't taken an offensive snap.

Stover entered the Peach Bowl having caught 35 passes for 399 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games. His absence has forced Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud to rely more heavily on receivers Julian Fleming and Xavier Johnson.

Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, Stroud's top targets, became even more important to Ohio State's offense in Stover's absence as well.

Ohio State is looking to reach the CFP title game for the first time since the 2020 season. The Buckeyes last won the national championship during the 2014 campaign.