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Ohio State's on its 3rd-string QB, but Oregon's overcome more injuries

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Both National Championship competitors battled through injury lists that would've wrecked the seasons of lesser programs.

Oregon and Ohio State will finally face off in the National Championship on Jan. 12 in Arlington. It's been a long road here for both teams, with important injuries along the way and a number of players still out hurt. The most notable injuries are the two that have Ohio State starting third-string quarterback Cardale Jones in the title game, but both teams should be commended for what they've made it through.

Each team has played 14 games so far this season, with 12 regular season games, a conference championship victory, and a win in the semifinal round of the College Football Playoff.  Each team has also dealt with major injuries, from starters being knocked out in the preseason to key contributors missing time along the way.

Oregon will have had 15 would-be starters miss a combined 67 games due to injury so far this season, with Devon Allen also doubtful after a Rose Bowl injury. Ohio State will have had seven miss a total of 43 games, which doesn't sound that bad, except for two of those players being quarterbacks.

"Except one position, they've been very healthy," Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said of Ohio State. "And all those guys, the other guys that people don't focus on as much as the one position going down, they're fantastic."

The lists below focus on likely starters (and players replacing likely starters) and do not include suspensions.


Player Position Games missed, counting Championship
Bralon Addison WR 15 (out)
Tyler Johnstone LT 15 (out)
Andre Yruretagoyena RT 8
Pharaoh Brown TE 5 (out)
Thomas Tyner RB 4
Keanon Lowe WR 3
Hroniss Grasu C 3
Matt Pierson LT 3
Arik Armstead DE 2
Jake Fisher LT 2
Chris Seisay CB 2
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB 2 (out)
Troy Hill CB 1
Dwayne Stanford WR 1
Jake Pisarcik RG 1
Devon Allen WR (doubtful)

Oregon struggled with offensive line help early in the year, eking out a one-touchdown win over Washington State and taking their only loss of the season vs. Arizona during the two games both starting tackles missed.

All-America cornerback Ekpre-Olomu suffered a season-ending injury in practice, eliminating him from both playoff games.

Ohio State

Player Position Games missed, counting Championship
Braxton Miller QB 15 (out)
Chad Lindsay C 15 (out)
Dontre Wilson APB 5
Armani Reeves NB 3
J.T. Barrett QB 3 (out)
Cam Burrows S 1
Jeff Heuerman TE 1

Heisman contender Miller went down for the year before the season started, and Heisman contender replacement Barrett later had a season-ending injury before the Big Ten Championship Game.

Lindsay, a transfer from Alabama, was in contention for the starting job at center when he went down and decided to end his career. Jacoby Boren took the position, and the same five players started all 14 games on the offensive line for the Buckeyes this season.

Wilson has been Ohio State's starting kick returner, and while Reeves has not been listed as a starter in any game he's an important defensive contributor at the nickel position. Burrows started the first game of the season before Vonn Bell took over, and later missed the game against Penn State.