Ohio State linebacker refuses to let injuries sideline him for game against Michigan

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Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg won’t let an injured pair of hands stop him, even in practice.

The redshirt junior had visible bruises on his hands during his media availability earlier this week, but said he wouldn’t let injuries keep him out of the lineup for the next big game against the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.

After Ohio State’s game against Maryland on November 19, one of Eichenberg’s teammates implied that the linebacker broke his hands. When Eichenberg was asked by reporters if the bones in his hands were really broken, he replied: “I’m not sure. They feel fine though.”

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Tommy Eichenberg of the Ohio State Buckeyes defends against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium on November 19, 2022 in College Park, Maryland.

Tommy Eichenberg of the Ohio State Buckeyes defends against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium on November 19, 2022 in College Park, Maryland.
(G Fiume/Getty Images)

Eichengberg mentioned that many other players play through pain.

“It would take a lot for me to stop playing, especially with this team, this defense,” Eichenberg said via Eleven Warriors. “Everybody who’s still playing football right now, everybody’s fighting different things. Everybody’s in pain every time they’re still on the field. So, people have different things that they have to deal with.”

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Eichenberg’s trainers have been impressed by his toughness.

“Tommy is as tough as he looks, as tough as any guy I’ve ever been around,” defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “He represents what we want to be as a defense, and I think as a program, because nothing is going to stop him. No matter what the circumstances of the injury are, he will show up.”

Dexter Williams II (5) of the Indiana Hoosiers tries to get past Tommy Eichenberg (35) and Michael Hall Jr. (51) of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second quarter of a game at Ohio Stadium on November 12, 2022 in Columbus , USA.  Ohio.

Dexter Williams II (5) of the Indiana Hoosiers tries to get past Tommy Eichenberg (35) and Michael Hall Jr. (51) of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second quarter of a game at Ohio Stadium on November 12, 2022 in Columbus , USA. Ohio.
(Ben Jackson/fake images)

The pain hasn’t had a noticeable impact on the Ohio State linebacker’s performance on the field. He had 13 tackles in the Buckeyes’ 43-30 win over the Maryland Terrapins.

Eichenberg even mentioned that the injury made him fundamentally more solid while tackling.

Ohio State defensive end Jack Sawyer (33), safety Ronnie Hickman (14), linebacker Tommy Eichenberg (35), safety Tanner McCalister (15) and cornerback Denzel Burke (10) converge on Maryland wide receiver Jacob Copeland (2) during a game November 19, 2022, at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium in College Park, Maryland.

Ohio State defensive end Jack Sawyer (33), safety Ronnie Hickman (14), linebacker Tommy Eichenberg (35), safety Tanner McCalister (15) and cornerback Denzel Burke (10) converge on Maryland wide receiver Jacob Copeland (2) during a game November 19, 2022, at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium in College Park, Maryland.
(Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Like his teammates, Eichenberg is driven by the memory of last season’s loss to Michigan. The defense misplayed largely during the contest, but this year’s game presents an opportunity for redemption.

The game also has massive implications for the college football playoffs. Ohio State is the second-place team while Michigan ranks third in the latest CFP rankings.

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This season, Eichenberg is an All-American candidate. He has recorded 105 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 2½ sacks.

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