COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two players from No. 1 Ohio State have been suspended for the Buckeyes' national championship game against LSU for violating team rules, according to several media reports.
Donald Washington, a starting cornerback, and backup Eugene Clifford will miss the BCS national title game in New Orleans on Jan. 7 for the unspecified violations, according to reports by WCMH-TV on Wednesday night and The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday. Both reports cited unnamed sources.
Athletic director Gene Smith declined Thursday to confirm the suspensions, but said there was "work to be done."
Washington is a sophomore who has started every game for the Buckeyes (11-1), and Clifford is a top reserve who played in four games.
Washington played a key role in an Ohio State defense ranked among the best in the nation. He had 34 tackles, tied for seventh-best on the team with lineman Vernon Gholston, and also had two tackles for losses, one sack, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Washington started at nickel back a year ago and moved into the starting spot at field corner this spring. In a 48-3 win over Kent State on Oct. 13, he returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown and recorded his first career sack.
With him out of the lineup, redshirt freshman Chimdi Chekwa will most likely move into the starting position.
Clifford was a prized recruit last spring after receiving all-state and several national honors during his days at Colerain High School.
He was listed as Malcolm Jenkins' backup at border corner on the Buckeyes' latest two-deep chart.
The Buckeyes' final workout before the holidays was Wednesday. They will be off until returning Dec. 26, then practice for a week before flying to New Orleans on Jan. 2.
The Associated Press News Service