The tall order of stopping Clemson’s high-powered offense with a suspect defense just got a little taller for the Ohio State Buckeyes. For Friday night’s Orange Bowl, the team will be without both sophomore defensive end Noah Spence and junior cornerback Bradley Roby. Roby, who has already announced his plans to leave Ohio State for the NFL, has a bone bruise in his knee that will prevent him from playing. For Spence, there was an announcement earlier in the week that he did not travel with the team to Miami, and now we know why.
Spence was suspended for three games, beginning with the Orange Bowl, for a violation of Big Ten rules. It’s been reported by Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch that said violation was the use of an unapproved dietary supplement. The university reportedly worked with Spence’s parents to appeal the conference’s decision, which they believed they had a chance of winning. However, they were ultimately unsuccessful. Spence will also miss next season’s games against Navy and Virginia Tech.
Roby was third on the team with 70 tackles to go with 3 interceptions, 1 punt block recovered for a touchdown, 13 pass breakups, and 16 passes defended, which led the team. Spence had 52 tackles (14.5 for a loss) and leads the team with 8 sacks.
This will put sophomores corner Armani Reeves and defensive end Adolphus Washington into the starting lineup. The Buckeye defense has been suspect all season long, culminating in allowing 41 points to arch-rival Michigan and 34 points against a mediocre Michigan State offense in the Big Ten Championship game. Clemson’s high-octane offense is led by quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide reciever Sammy Watkins.