Ohio State-MSU game officially on; team doctor says Buckeyes can 'compete safely'

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

There will be a football game at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.

One week after Ohio State was forced to cancel its game at Illinois only hours before the scheduled kickoff, the Buckeyes were planning to travel to East Lansing on Friday evening having met the COVID-19 thresholds to play.

MSU and Ohio State will play Saturday.

“We are very confident that we are heading to East Lansing with a team that can safely compete and whose health, safety and well-being has been our utmost concern,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, who leads the Buckeyes’ medical staff. “We’ve tested, monitored and evaluated our results daily and have advised the student-athletes, coaches and performance staff accordingly.

Subscribers: Detroit News predictions: Ohio State at Michigan State

“Our population positivity rate, which exceeded the threshold for participation at this time last week, has now returned on the seven-day rolling average to a level that allows us to compete safely this weekend.”

After the cancellation of the Illinois game, Ohio State paused team activities for two days, holding small group workouts and virtual meetings.

Among those who tested positive included head coach Ryan Day, who will not make the trip to Michigan State. Larry Johnson, associate head coach and defensive-line coach, will serve as interim head coach.

While Ohio State was doing its best to get back on the field, Michigan State continued to see encouraging testing numbers throughout its athletic department.

On Friday, Michigan State announced it had conducted 26 PCR tests from Nov. 26-Dec. 2 with just one positive result. The school tested 20 student-athletes with one positive while there were no positive results among the six staffers who were tested.

More: Detroit News scouting report: Ohio State at Michigan State

Since the beginning of June, Michigan State athletics has conducted at least 3,168 COVID-19 clinical PCR tests on student-athletes and staff members. There have been at least 2,672 tests on student-athletes, with 172 positive results. Since June 15, there have been more than 496 tests on staff members, at locations both on and off campus, with 13 positive results.

Meanwhile, at Michigan, Saturday's game against Maryland was canceled because of at least 12 positive COVID-19 tests within the Michigan program.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau