Baron Browning set to return for Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

Joey Kaufman
Baron Browning, who is tied for third among Ohio State defenders with five tackles for loss, is set to return for the Buckeyes against Wisconsin after missing last week’s game with injury. [Barbara J. Perenic/Dispatch]

Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning is slated to return against Wisconsin on Saturday after an undisclosed injury had sidelined him last week at Northwestern.

Browning, the team’s fifth-leading tackler, was not listed on the status report by the university on released Friday, meaning he is expected to be available against the Badgers.

The game is scheduled for noon in Ohio Stadium.

Left tackle Thayer Munford, who was limited last week, also is available for the high-profile matchup. Munford started the first six games, but rotated in against the Wildcats.

The presence of Browning, a junior who splits time with Tuf Borland at middle linebacker, should help the Buckeyes’ run defense as it prepares to face Jonathan Taylor, the Badgers’ top running back who is the nation’s third-leading rusher.

Wisconsin averages 235.4 rushing yards per game, ranking No. 17 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in rush offense.

Defensive end Jonathon Cooper, who missed the first four games this season due to a high ankle sprain before returning to the starting lineup, is listed as a game-time decision. Tyler Friday, the backup defensive end behind Cooper, will not play.

If Cooper is out, sophomore Tyreke Smith would make his second start this season, based on the depth chart OSU released on Friday. Smith previously started for Cooper in the Buckeyes’ Big Ten opener at Indiana last month.

The program is not providing details surrounding injuries this season, citing player privacy concerns.

Senior Austin Mack, the fourth-leading receiver for the Buckeyes, is a game-time decision, as is reserve linebacker Teradja Mitchell.

Offensive tackle Joshua Alabi also is out for the second straight game. Alabi, a top reserve, has started a pair of games at right tackle and can also fill in at left tackle. Without Alabi available last week at Northwestern, redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere started in place of Munford before they later rotated.