Ohio State’s Sermon leaves championship game with injury

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Ohio State running back Trey Sermon left the national championship game against No. 1 Alabama with an injury Monday night and did not return.

Sermon was taken to the locker room after the Buckeyes’ first offensive series, during which he carried the ball once for 2 yards.

Master Teague III, who began the season as the starter, was in for the second series and had three carries, including an 8-yard run for a touchdown. Teague scored again from four yards out in the second quarter after the Buckeyes recovered an Alabama fumble.

Sermon, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, broke out with 331 rushing yards in the Big Ten championship and another 193 yards in the semifinal win over Clemson.

Ohio State was already without kicker Blake Haubeil and defensive lineman Tommy Togiai and defensive end Tyreke Smith. They were included in Ohio State’s status report released during the game.

The school does not specify why any of the 13 players on the list cannot play, but Buckeyes coach Ryan Day did acknowledge last week that Ohio State was dealing with some new COVID-19 cases.

Haubeil posted on his Instagram page that he did not make the trip to Florida after testing positive. The senior was 5 for 7 on field-goal attempts this season and handled kickoffs. Junior Dominic DiMaccio was 1 for 2 on field goals and 3 for 3 on extra points this season. Freshman Jake Seibert missed his only field goal attempt and made all 13 PATs.

“I’m extremely upset but at the same time I’m overwhelming thankful to be an individual who is asymptomatic,” Haueil said in his post. “I have spent the past 4 months making sacrifices, and have not seen family and friends one single time. So, to say I’m (angry) is a complete understatement. I didn’t go out and do something I knew I wasn’t supposed to be doing and then wake up with a positive test.”

Togiai and Smith both played well in the Sugar Bowl semifinal victory against Clemson, when the Buckeyes got good pressure on quarterback Trevor Lawrence and shut down the Tigers’ running game.

Smith had a sack and Togiai made four tackles. Without Togiai at nose tackle, Jerron Cage and Ty Hamilton could see more playing time.

Running back Miyan Williams, who had some significant runs against Clemson, also was listed as unavailable after tweeting on Saturday that he didn’t make the trip to Miami.

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