COLUMBUS — An Ohio State offensive line that is off to a strong start to the 2019 season could be down a starter Saturday night at Nebraska.
Right tackle Branden Bowen is a game-time decision according to the status report published by the team Friday morning.
A fifth-year senior who returned from missing more than a year because of a broken leg, Bowen won a preseason competition with redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere to be the starter, though line coach Greg Studrawa said it was a close decision.
On the other side of the ball, Ohio State appears to be getting healthier.
Two of the four scholarship defensive linemen who missed last week’s 76-5 win over Miami (Ohio) are expected to suit up this week, including senior captain Jonathon Cooper.
A 6-foot-4, 257-pound end from Gahanna Lincoln outside Columbus, he suffered a leg injury in the preseason and missed the first four games this season.
Expected to bring both pass-rush ability and leadership, Cooper is listed alongside sophomore Tyler Friday as the potential starter at the end spot opposite standout Chase Young.
Cooper started all 13 games last season and tallied 6.5 of his 10.5 career tackles for loss, including three sacks.
Friday started two of the games Cooper missed and has three tackles, including two for loss and a sack, on the season.
Also set to return to the defense this week is Robert “B.B.” Landers, a fifth-year senior tackle from Wayne who sat out last week with an unidentified injury.
Landers has been a member of the rotation for four years and has 18 career tackles for loss. He is part of a three-man rotation at nose tackle with fellow senior Davon Hamilton and sophomore Tommy Togiai.
The other two scholarship defensive linemen who missed last week remain out this week — end Tyreke Smith and tackle Taron Vincent.
Also listed as unavailable are receivers C.J. Saunders and Kamryn Babb, walk-on defensive tackle Noah Donald, safety Ronnie Hickman and linebacker Teradja Mitchell.
Mitchell is a sophomore who was among the offseason’s most-talked-about players. He has eight tackles as a reserve and on special teams.