Cooper expected back but Bowen might be out vs. Nebraska

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Jonathon Cooper (18) poses for a portrait on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Ohio State senior defensive end Jonathon Cooper is expected to make his 2019 debut Saturday night against Nebraska, but the Buckeyes could be without right tackle Branden Bowen on their offensive line.

On Friday morning, Ohio State released its list of players who will be unavailable and game-time decisions for Saturday, and Branden Bowen is listed in the latter category. If the senior can’t play, redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere will likely start in his place.

Bowen edged Petit-Frere in a training camp competition, but the Buckeyes remain high on the former five-star recruit’s potential. Joshua Alabi, who has primarily served as the backup to left tackle Thayer Munford, also could play on the right side.

Cooper was injured in training camp and has missed the Buckeyes’ first four games.

The Nebraska game also should see the return of nose tackle Robert Landers, who missed last week’s game against Miami. Landers and Davon Hamilton share duties with some help from Tommy Togaia.

The only new name on the unavailable list is linebacker Teradja Mitchell. Defensive end Tyreke Smith, defensive tackle Taron Vincent and receiver C.J. Saunders are the other prominent players who remain out.