Ohio State is back.
After missing last week’s game against Illinois due to positive COVID-19 cases within the team, the Buckeyes announced Friday that they will be traveling to East Lansing to take on Michigan State at noon Saturday.
“We are very confident that we are heading to East Lansing with a team that can safely compete and whose health, safety and well-being has been our utmost concern,” Dr. Jim Borchers said in the news release. “We’ve tested, monitored and evaluated our results daily and have advised the student-athletes, coaches and performance staff accordingly.”
The program practiced in isolated groups Monday before returning to team practices Tuesday and continuing to practice in full throughout the remainder of the week. The game against the Fighting Illini was canceled in an effort to prevent the spread from going over the thresholds put in place by the Big Ten.
“Ohio State’s successful and safe return to the playing field began after the cancellation of its game against Illinois last weekend as all team related activities were paused for two days following an increase in positive tests within the program,” the release stated. “Risk mitigation efforts, such as virtual team meetings and small group workouts, were reinforced as the team returned to activities at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.”
Even with Ohio State’s return to the field, head coach Ryan Day will not be traveling with the team, as he must remain in isolation. Associate head coach Larry Johnson, as was planned for the Illinois game, will be the interim head coach for the Buckeyes against Michigan State and will become the first black head coach in Ohio State football history.
Ohio State will be playing its fifth game out of seven this weekend, and a sixth game against Michigan would allow the Buckeyes to meet the minimum required games to play in the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern.
While the Buckeyes are on track to play against the Wolverines, Michigan’s game against Maryland this Saturday had to be canceled because of COVID cases within the Michigan program.
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