Ohio State itching to turn Chase Young loose against Penn State

Joey Kaufman
Defensive end Chase Young (2) will face no restrictions when he returns for Ohio State on Saturday against Penn State. Young has not played since Oct. 26 against Wisconsin, when he had four sacks of Badgers quarterback Jack Coan (17). [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young will not be limited when he returns against Penn State on Saturday.

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 the organization’s rules.

Coach Ryan Day said during his news conference on Tuesday that Young will continue to see 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 was extended due to an off week following 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 in practice. He went through additional drills with defensive line coach Larry Johnson during some of those 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 ninth in the College Football Playoff rankings last week and has enough skilled players, many former blue-chip recruits, that Day was prompted to refer to the matchup as a “talent-equated game.”

But few defensive 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, and his return gives them an X-factor.

“He changes what they have to do,” Hafley said. “They have to account for him.”

Against the Nittany Lions, who have lost only once this season, 31-26 at Minnesota on Nov. 9, Day suggested the preparation from the Buckeyes will be heightened this week.

“It’s a lot of hours,” Day said. “It’s a lot of work. No stone unturned. What jumps off the tape is how strong and physical they are.”