COLUMBUS — The Buckeyes will be without star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a second-consecutive week. The junior pass catcher is still dealing with a lingering hamstring issue that began in the season opener against Notre Dame.
In his absence, sophomore receivers Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison, Jr., along with junior Julian Fleming, have combined to catch 12 touchdowns over the past three games. Fleming has only played in the previous two games, tallying three touchdown receptions over that span.
Smith-Njigba has played sparingly in just two games this season, catching four passes for 36 yards to this point.
Ohio State will also be without starting cornerback Cameron Brown once again. Brown missed last week’s game against Wisconsin. The good news for the Buckeyes is that fellow starting cornerback Denzel Burke is not listed on this week’s injury report, indicating that he should be good to go. Head coach Ryan Day said as much on Thursday.
Burke injured his hand prior to the Wisconsin game and was seen in a cast/brace last week. He will likely be playing with some sort of apparatus on his hand against Rutgers if he in fact does see the field.
Without Brown, the Buckeyes are expected to turn to redshirt freshman JK Johnson or true freshman Jyaire Brown. The pair started in place of Burke and Brown last week. Johnson has played more snaps than any other Ohio State cornerback the last three weeks. Both youngsters graded out as champions last week.
The Buckeyes will also be without a pair of rotational defenders in defensive end Tyler Friday and nickel back Cam Martinez.
There are no game-time decisions.
The full availability report can be found below.
DE Omari Abor
WR Kamryn Babb
CB Cameron Brown
SAF Jantzen Dunn
DE Tyler Friday
LB Palaie Gaoteote
CB Jordan Hancock
DB Cam Martinez
CB Lloyd McFarquhar
LB/DE Mitchell Melton
LB Teradja Mitchell
RB Evan Pryor
TE Joe Royer
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba