PISCATAWAY, NJ — Ohio State will be without starting strong safety Lathan Ransom and starting cornerback Denzel Burke for Saturday’s game at Rutgers.
Ransom, a senior, suffered an undisclosed injury last week at Wisconsin. Buckeye head coach Ryan Day has declined to put a timetable on Ransom’s return, but said during Friday’s team arrival in New Jersey that Ransom did not make the trip.
Ransom is fourth on the team with 34 tackles.
Also missing from the OSU secondary is junior cornerback Denzel Burke. Burke is a surprise addition to the weekly injury list for the Buckeyes. He was recently named a Thorpe Award semi-finalist. Burke leads the defense with nine passes broken up this week.
Burke also missed the Penn State game two weeks ago. Without him in the lineup, expect Jordan Hancock to start at outside corner for him, but on passing downs the Buckeyes will likely put true freshman cornerback Jermaine Mathews, Jr. into the game so that Hancock can move to nickel.
This will become an interesting situation to watch because Hancock has been splitting time at nickel with sophomore Sonny Styles, but Styles will now replace Ransom as the Buckeyes’ starting strong safety.
Rutgers is a run-heavy team, which may mean the Ohio State defense doesn’t employ as much nickel, so that could mean more three-linebacker sets, which would bring senior Cody Simon onto the field with starters Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers.
There is good news offensively, however, as junior receiver Emeka Egbuka is not on this week’s injury list. Ryan Day has talked all week about how good it would be for this offense to get Egbuka back. Fellow junior Marvin Harrison, Jr. said on Wednesday that he “can’t wait” to have his running mate back on the field.
Egbuka has 22 receptions for 303 yards and three touchdowns this season. He has missed the last games for the Buckeyes.
Redshirt junior running back Miyan Williams was announced earlier in the week as out for the season. Day has said that this could lead to more opportunities for sophomore running back Dallan Hayden, who they were trying to redshirt. He has played two games this season so far.
The rest of the availability report can be found below.
CB Denzel Burke
WR Kyion Grayes
DL Jason Moore
SAF Lathan Ransom
TE Joe Royer
RB Miyan Williams