Ohio State to face Notre Dame without either starting DT

Ohio State's Tommy Schutt (90) has a foot injury that will keep him out of the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame.
Geoff Burke/Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer told reporters Sunday his team will not have starting defensive tackle Tommy Schutt when the Buckeyes face Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. 

A foot injury has ended Schutt's college career. 

That means the Buckeyes will be without both starting interior starting lineman as All-American Adolphus Washington has been suspended following his citation for solicitation in Columbus in early December. 

Ohio State has no shortage of bodies to play inside, but the candidates haven't done much with the playing time they have had previously.  

The Buckeyes' best combination might include two-time consensus All-American end Joey Bosa playing inside, something he did at times during the season, particularly in passing situations. 

Tyquan Lewis had a strong first season as a starter at the end opposite Bosa, and the emergence of redshirt freshman Sam Hubbard as the primary backup at end gives Ohio State two players it can rely on on the outside if Bosa moves to tackle on a more regular basis. 

Others who could fill the void inside include senior Joel Hale and sophomores Michael Hill, Tracy Sprinkle and Donovan Munger. 

“I don't know that we know for sure right now,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell replied Monday when asked how he will make up for the absence of his two senior starters. “Michael Hill will be the guy that will play at the nose spot for Tommy. Donovan Munger, Tracy Sprinkle will be the two guys that will be more at the three-technique spot.” 

They will face a tall order in the Fighting Irish, who boast a strong offensive line and running game. 

“This is as good of an offensive line as we have seen all year,” Fickell said. “We see some good ones in the Big Ten. Collectively across the board, this is as good of a group as we've seen all year.

“That's going to be the key to the game, like it is a lot of time. The guys up front are going to determine the outcome of these games, more so than the ones we've had in the past.” 

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