Knee brace will limit Justin Fields’ mobility for Ohio State in title game

Joey Kaufman
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields’ bothersome knee limited him to six carries against Michigan, one week after running the ball 21 times against Penn State. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields plans to wear a bulkier knee brace in the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin on Saturday.

Fields first wore the brace in the third quarter at Michigan last week after he aggravated a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Earlier in the game, he had worn a smaller brace underneath his pants before switching to the larger brace, one seen as more common among offensive linemen.

He described it as a preventive measure.

“I just feel more secure with it on, especially with my knee being where it is right now,” Fields said. “But I definitely can't run as fast, and I definitely won't be able to be as mobile.”

If Fields is restricted against the Badgers, it will leave the Buckeyes offense without his running ability. He has rushed for 470 yards and 10 touchdowns, an added element for an offense that was directed last season by a less-mobile quarterback in Dwayne Haskins Jr.

Once Fields returned against Michigan, he did not run the ball once. All six of his carries occurred before he aggravated the injury.

Fields felt a heavier brace would only have so much of an effect on him, and none on his throwing ability.

“In the game, you can't really worry about what's on your body,” he said.

Coach Ryan Day, who also serves as the primary play-caller, remarked that he would remain mindful of Fields’ status when designing plays.

“You try to do the best you can to risk/reward it,” Day said. “It's good to know that he's so tough and he can handle that stuff.”

Day said there had been no consideration about resting him against the Badgers.

“He'll be playing,” Day said. “We'll use him all 60 minutes.”

Young named top

defensive player

Defensive end Chase Young was named the Big Ten's defensive player of the year, becoming the first Ohio State player to receive the honor since Joey Bosa in 2014.

Young, who has set the school’s single-season sacks record with 16.5, was also selected as the conference’s defensive lineman of the year. Five of the past six winners have been Buckeyes players, a stretch that began in 2014 when Larry Johnson was hired as defensive line coach.

Nick Bosa won in 2017, as did Tyquan Lewis in 2016 and Joey Bosa twice in 2015 and 2014.

The Big Ten’s individual awards and all-conference teams for defensive and special teams players also were announced.

Seven Ohio State players were named to all-conference teams by the league's coaches and media, including safety Jordan Fuller, cornerback Jeff Okudah and Young, all of whom were first-team selections. Linebacker Malik Harrison was also on the coaches' first-team.

Cornerback Damon Arnette was a consensus second-team selection, while defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, nickel cornerback Shaun Wade and kicker Blake Haubeil were consensus third-team selections.

Linebacker Tuf Borland was an honorable mention, as was punter Drue Chrisman.

OSU still No. 1

in CFP rankings

Ohio State was No. 1 in the penultimate College Football Playoff rankings, remaining ahead of LSU, Clemson and Georgia, which rounded out the top four.

Selection committee chairman Rob Mullens noted that the Buckeyes had wins over four ranked teams, keeping them ahead of LSU, which has three.

Wisconsin, the opponent for Ohio State on Saturday, is ranked eighth, while LSU faces Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game.


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