Posted by Adam Jacobi
For Ohio State, the 2011 season has been one of a nearly unprecedented amount of challenges. We all know about the off-season oustings and suspensions, and that resultant instability -- probably moreso at quarterback than at head coach -- has led to a 3-2 start that seems even more worrisome than the record would indicate.
At the very least, though, Week 6 was supposed to be when the cavalry arrived for the Buckeyes. Five starters, including offensive stars Dan Herron and DeVier Posey, were to come off of suspension, and the influx of high-caliber talent was going to kick-start the season into the high gear that most Buckeye fans were accustomed to. Well, clearly, that's not quite going as planned either, and for the Buckeye passing game, the news gets even worse.
Not only is Posey -- the unquestioned top wide receiver of the team -- still out for this week's tilt against Nebraska after Ohio State admitted that Posey accepted over $700 in unearned wages, but his top backup is now out for the year. As RapidReporter Doug Bean notes, WR Verlon Reed (seen at right) has been lost for the season after he suffered a torn ACL against Michigan State. Reed led all wide receivers with nine catches on the season, and only TE Jake Stoneburner had more catches on the year (10) thus far.
Reed's injury is particularly cruel, because it didn't occur while he was playing his usual position. After Ohio State scored a touchdown with four precious seconds remaining on the clock, OSU brought out its hands team for the onside kick, of which Reed is a member. The kick went to Reed's side, and he was hit hard in the ensuing collision before he crumpled backwards. Michigan State eventually recovered the kick and won the game.
As Bean notes, this likely means that Reed's vacated starting WR role will be filled by either Evan Spencer or T.Y. Williams, who are both freshmen who have combined for all of five catches this season. Devin Smith, who has eight catches for 183 yards and three scores on the year, remains the other starting wideout.