Ohio State defensive end Chase Young will not be limited Saturday when he returns against Penn State.
Young sat out the Buckeyes’ previous two games, against Rutgers and Maryland, after the NCAA determined he had accepted a loan from a family friend in violation of its rules.
Coach Ryan Day said that Young will continue to play the same number of snaps on the defensive line.
It will be the first time Young has played since Oct. 26 against Wisconsin, a span of almost a month that included an off week after the game against the Badgers.
Young continued to practice with the team during his suspension, though he did not participate in certain game-planning situations. He went through additional drills with defensive line coach Larry Johnson during some periods.
“We made sure he kept in shape and kept fresh,” said Jeff Hafley, the Buckeyes’ defensive co-coordinator.
When asked if he had any concerns about rustiness from the star pass rusher, Hafley grinned. He had none.
“I think everybody should be excited,” Hafley said. “He’s one of the best players in all of college football. I know our team is excited. I know the coaches are excited. I’m sure the fans are excited. … I know it was hard for him not being in those last two games. I’m excited for him to get out and get back at it.”
The presence of Young will be significant against Penn State, which was No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night.
But few linemen are more disruptive than Young, who will break Ohio State’s single-season sack record the next time he brings a quarterback to the turf, return that gives the Buckeyes’ defense an X-factor.
“He changes what they have to do,” Hafley said. “They have to account for him. They might have to slide to him. They might have to keep a tight end on him. They might have to keep a back on him. They have to find ways where he's not 1-on-1. They might have to get rid of the ball quicker. They might not be able to sit in the pocket and throw those deep developing routes that give you problems.”
Penn State’s offensive line has allowed 19 sacks this season, ranking 60th in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and has a sack of rate of 5.4 percent that ranks 52nd nationally, according to Football Outsiders.
Only Pittsburgh, with 45, has sacked quarterbacks more often this season than the Buckeyes, who have 42.
Now they will have Young back.
“He’s definitely excited to be back on the field with the boys,” defensive tackle Robert Landers said. “I think Chase is focused, he’s ready for this week and getting back into the groove. He’ll be good.”
Young is scheduled to speak with reporters prior to the game this week, but had a message on his Instagram page on Tuesday.
“Chip on my shoulder only gotten bigger,” he wrote.
Buckeyes still No. 2
In the playoff rankings released Tuesday, the Buckeyes remained No. 2, behind LSU, after both teams remained unbeaten last weekend.
Ohio State debuted at No. 1 in the rankings, but was overtaken last week by LSU after its win over Alabama.
Clemson stayed at No. 3.