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Tommy Togiai, Tyreke Smith Among 13 Ohio State Players Ruled Out vs. Alabama

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2021

Ohio State defensive end Tyreke Smith (11) rushes against Penn State during an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Ohio State defeated Penn State 38-25. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Barry Reeger/Associated Press

Thirteen Ohio State players will miss the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Alabama on Monday night.

Kicker Blake Haubeil, defensive tackle Tommy Togiai and defensive end Tyreke Smith are among the notable absences, per ESPN's Tom VanHaaren:

Tom VanHaaren @TomVH

Here is #OhioState’s list of unavailable players for tonight’s game. Includes defensive linemen Tommy Togiai and Tyreke Smith https://t.co/5nhraAZgRY

Haubeil announced on Instagram he'd be out for COVID-19-related reasons.

Austin Ward @AWardSports

Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil speaking out about his situation as he will miss the title game. https://t.co/GemKDB1Saa

College coaches aren't required to disclose the extent to which a team could be impacted by COVID-19. Because of that, fans have often been left to wonder until the last minute who would and wouldn't be available to play.

Questions about Ohio State arose last week after AL.com's John Talty and Matt Zenitz reported the Buckeyes "informed key parties" they might be missing a position group when they played the Crimson Tide.

Togiai has 27 total tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss in eight games. Smith's impact has been more muted, but he had a big sack on Clemson star Trevor Lawrence in the fourth quarter that caused a fumble. Their collective absence will be felt against an explosive Alabama offense.

Michael Felder @InTheBleachers

No Tommy Togiai or Tyreke Smith, who were huge vs Clemson. That's brutal to not get to see them tonight.

Haubeil, meanwhile, was 5-of-7 on field goals. Dominic DiMaccio is the only other Ohio State kicker to connect on a field goal this season, which came from 22 yards. The kicking game hasn't been a vital piece of Ohio State's offense, but losing Haubeil could alter how Ryan Day operates once he gets inside Crimson Tide territory.

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