Ohio State will be without starters defensive tackle Tommy Togiai, defensive end Tyreke Smith and place kicker Blake Haubeil in tonight's national championship game against Alabama due to COVID-19 protocols, the team announced. The three starters were among the 13 players listed on the injured list.
Running back Master Teague, who sustained an injury in the Big 10 championship, was left off the injured list and it looks like he will make his return. Other notable players left off the injury list include defensive end Zach Harrison, defensive end Tyler Friday and offensive lineman Harry Miller.
The announcement comes just days after it was feared that the national title game would be postponed until Jan. 18 because of a COVID-19 outbreak for the Buckeyes. It was initially believed that one position group was decimated by a coronavirus outbreak and it's now evident the defensive line was significantly effected after losing four players for the championship game.
Togiai had 23 tackles and was second on the team with three sacks on the year while Smith notched nine tackles and two sacks in 2020. The Buckeyes are going to need all the help they can get going up against a historic Crimson Tide offense that is lead by quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith
Haubeil announced just hours before the game that he would miss the championship due to COVID-19 in an Instagram post, though. In the post, the senior was clearly upset.
"To say I'm pissed off is a complete understatement," Haubeil said in the post. "I didn't go out and do something I knew I wasn't supposed to be doing then wake up with a positive test."
Haubeil made five field goals and 31 extra points in the 2020 season.