Ohio State's COVID issues leave Saturday's game vs. Michigan State in limbo

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

While the Minnesota-Northwestern game was officially canceled on Monday, there is no word yet on what might happen with Saturday’s scheduled matchup with Michigan State and Ohio State.

The Buckeyes were forced to cancel last weekend’s game at Illinois late on Friday night and paused all team activities over the weekend because of a COVID-19 outbreak that began within the team midway through the week.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker, left, congratulates players during the fourth quarter of the win over Northwestern.

On Monday, players began small-group workouts during the day while meetings were being conducted virtually, a team spokesman told the Columbus Dispatch.

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Michigan State (2-3) is coming off an upset victory over Northwestern on Saturday while No. 4 Ohio State is trying to get the game against the Spartans in and avoid being ineligible for the Big Ten Championship game. The Buckeyes (4-0) already had one game canceled this season when Maryland had a COVID outbreak.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day was among those who tested positive but the school did not release the names of any other coaches or players that also tested positive.

The Spartans have already lost a game this season, as well. The trip to Maryland scheduled for Nov. 21 was wiped out because of the Terrapins’ issues, a week after they had to cancel their game with Ohio State.

If Ohio State is forced to cancel, there is a chance Michigan State still could play this weekend. Northwestern is now without an opponent and Maryland could be in the same spot after Michigan, which the Terrapins are scheduled to play on Saturday, paused team activities on Monday.

That would leave open the possibility of Michigan State playing Maryland or even Northwestern a week after the teams played in East Lansing. Of course, changes like that can only come with official news from Ohio State and/or Michigan, something that might not come until later in the week.

Fulton, Willekes enter portal

Michigan State confirmed that linebackers Luke Fulton and Charles Willekes have entered the transfer portal.

The pair of redshirt freshmen were suspended from the team in September after an arrest. Fulton was arrested on Sept. 8, according to court records, and was charged with aggravated assault. East Lansing Police Department officials confirmed at the time that Willekes was arrested as part of the same complaint but his court records are not public.

On Oct. 2, Fulton pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery, and according to the 54B District Court records, will avoid upfront jail time under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act.

The Spartans have now had four players enter the portal since the season began with Fulton and Willekes joining redshirt freshman linebacker Marcel Lewis and sophomore running back Anthony Williams.


Twitter: @mattcharboneau