Ohio St. defense down 2 starters; kicker also out

  • ACC reporter.
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2010.
  • Graduate of the University of Florida.

MIAMI — Ohio State starting defensive tackle Tommy Togiai, defensive end Tyreke Smith and kicker Blake Haubeil will miss Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama.

Meanwhile, Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle will play for the first time since he broke his right ankle against Tennessee on Oct. 24, though he will be limited, according to coach Nick Saban.

In all, 13 players were listed on Ohio State’s unavailability report, including two other defensive linemen. Backup kicker Dominic DiMaccio is also unavailable.

In a message posted to Instagram, Haubeil said he tested positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic but is extremely upset to miss the game.

“I have spent the past four months making sacrifices, and have not seen family and friends on single time. … 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 had,” he wrote.

Without Togiai, look for Jerron Cage to get extended playing time. Backup Ty Hamilton is also unavailable. With Smith out, Tyler Friday would be the next player up.

The Buckeyes will turn to freshman Jake Seibert to kick. Seibert has made 13 extra point attempts and missed his only field goal attempt.

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