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Healthy Buckeyes just waiting on one key game-time decision

Shaun Wade-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State defensive back Shaun Wade will be a game-time decision at Michigan. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Healthy Buckeyes just waiting on one key game-time decision

COLUMBUS — The full starting lineup for Ohio State could once again be available for an all-hands-on-deck battle at rival Michigan.

All the Buckeyes are waiting for is one more green light.

With the exception of versatile defensive back Shaun Wade, who will make the trip north as a game-time decision on Saturday at the Big House, all other first-string options for the top-ranked Buckeyes are cleared for the second straight week — at the most important time of the season. According to the availability report the program released on Friday morning, no additional surprises popped up for Ohio State since the East Division-clinching win last week, essentially giving Ryan Day the full arsenal before his first battle with the Wolverines as the head coach.

The stakes, of course, remain high for the unbeaten Buckeyes as they look to not only maintain their dominance in the series, but also stay on track to lock up to the top seed in the College Football Playoff.

“I think when you look at someone’s eyes, you can tell if they’re focused or not,” Day said. “Based on how well you prepare, the more confidence you have. I look at it like if you’re taking a test.

Jonathon Cooper-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State defensive end Jonathon Cooper is cleared again this week if the Buckeyes want to use him. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“If you know the answers to the test, you’re focused, but not you’re nervous. You’re locked in, know you’re going to do well, you have all the answers to the test. If you don’t know all the answers to the test, you start getting nervous, anxious. As long as our focus is right, we understand that. I’ll be shocked if it isn’t, and we prepare the best way, that gives us our best chance to be successful.”

The Buckeyes have been able to solve everything Michigan has thrown at it for the last seven years, and with a relatively clean bill of health, they will again have the talent advantage on paper. Ohio State enters the game as a road favorite by more than a touchdown.

If there’s a key head-to-head matchup to watch, though, it would figure to be the talented group of Michigan wide receivers dueling with the loaded Ohio State secondary. That will make the status of Wade perhaps the most pressing storyline on Saturday morning after the Buckeyes arrive at the stadium for warmups and monitor the health of the redshirt sophomore who has been one of the best playmakers on the nation’s best defense.

Everywhere else on the roster, Ohio State is as healthy as it could hope for heading into the matchup that is annually the most physical and important one it plays all year.

Here’s the full availability report as announced on Friday by the program, making note that Ohio State doesn’t differentiate between injuries or disciplinary matters:

Ohio State Game-Time Decisions

DB Shaun Wade

Unavailable Buckeyes

WR Kamryn Babb

RB Marcus Crowley

OG Gavin Cupp

DL Noah Donald

WR Ellijah Gardiner

DB Ronnie Hickman

OL Matthew Jones

DB Josh Proctor

WR C.J. Saunders

DT Taron Vincent

Ohio State Depth vs UM

Austin Ward

Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.