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Kicker Haubeil Unavailable For Ohio State In Title Game

Kicker Haubeil Unavailable For Ohio State In Title Game

Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil and defensive linemen Tommy Togiai and defensive end Tyreke Smith are unavailable for the College Football Playoff national championship game against No. 1 Alabama on Monday night.

Justin Fields and the prolific Ohio State offense, fresh from piling up 639 yards in a semifinal win over Clemson, couldnt find the same groove against Alabama on Monday night.

Fields, who passed for 385 yards and six touchdowns against Clemson, had some outstanding moments against Alabama but not enough to make a difference. The Tide built up a big lead by halftime and a smothering pass rush kept the Buckeyes offense in check on the way to a 52-24 Alabama win.

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon, who electrified the Buckeyes ground game in the three previous games, was lost to an injury during the first series, and the teams best offensive lineman, Wyatt Davis, was banged up late in the first half.

Master Teague III, who began the season as a starter, took over for Sermon and had touchdown runs of eight and four yards but Ohio State moved away from the run game in the second half as Fields had to look for chunk plays to try to catch up. The Buckeyes (7-1) had just 147 rushing yards, with Fields getting 67 of them.

Playing from behind for three quarters, Fields was 17 for 33 for 194 yards. Meanwhile, Ohio States defense couldnt stop Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and keep Alabama out of the end zone.

Fields, who is projected as a first-round draft pick, finished his second year as the Ohio State starter the same way he finished the first — with a loss.

Regardless, Fields will be remembered for his leadership in an unpredictable season disrupted at every turn by the pandemic.

The Big Ten suspended the season in August, reinstating it a month later following a campaign led by Fields and others. Amid COVID-19 outbreaks that took key players out of the lineup, the Buckeyes won all five of the games they played in empty or nearly empty stadiums while remaining separated from their families.

There were anxious moments before the Big Ten changed the rules to allow Ohio State to play in the conference championship game. The Buckeyes dominated Northwestern with a 331-yard game from Sermon and despite a disappointing performance from Fields, who finished the game with a sprained thumb on his throwing hand.

In the 49-28 win over Clemson in the semifinal game, Fields cemented himself in Ohio State lore when he came back on the field and threw a touchdown pass after taking a vicious hit in the ribs that had him writhing in pain on the turf in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Defensive tackle Haskell Garrett not only played the season but excelled despite having been shot in the face while breaking up an altercation on the street near campus in late August.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchtacy


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