No. 4 Ohio State battles with No. 15 Northwestern in the 2020 Big Ten championship, knowing that nothing but an impressive win this weekend can cement its College Football Playoff spot.
No. 3 Buckeyes vs. No. 15 Northwestern Big Ten Championship Live Stream
Live coverage of this important showdown is slated for 12:00 p.m. ET and Fox Network will provide the television coverage. For free online and mobile device streaming coverage, visit FOX Sports GO. | Live Updated Stats
The Buckeyes (5-0, 5-0 Big Ten) are undefeated this season, but have played significantly less games than those around them, so a defeat or even a sloppy win on Saturday would more than likely knock them out of the Top 4.
Though they are the favorites to win the contest, the Buckeyes will have to do it without some figures, including standout wide receiver Chris Olave and starting linebacker Baron Browning.
Olave and Browning were among 22 players listed as unavailable for Ohio State, while starting safety Marcus Hooker remains a game-time decision for the title contest.
No confirmed reasons were provided for the players missing the game, but ESPN is reporting that its sources believe the team had “additional positive COVID-19 tests this week among players and possibly staff.”
It came as a surprise since SportingAlert.com was informed Friday evening that players and staff members from both programs cleared the final COVID-19 protocols on Friday.
Among the other notable players listed as out were starting punter Drue Chrisman, alongside several reserves – quarterback Gunnar Hoak, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back Steele Chambers.
Northwestern enters this game without any notable COVID-19 cases and will be hoping to pull off a victory against what is slated to be a less than a fully strengthen Ohio State lineup.
“Last year, we had some issues at certain positions where we didn’t play or coach as well as we needed to,” Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said.
“But we still were in a bunch of games that we had every opportunity to win. But we just didn’t play the way we typically do from a consistency standpoint.”