COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Top-ranked Ohio State will be without two cornerbacks -- one a starter and the other a top reserve -- who have been suspended for the Allstate BCS Championship Game against LSU, according to media reports.
Donald Washington, a sophomore who has started every game this season for the Buckeyes (11-1), and backup Eugene Clifford were suspended for violating team rules, WCMH-TV and The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday.
Athletic director Gene Smith declined Thursday to confirm the suspensions and said there was "work to be done" before he could confirm them.
Washington, in particular, 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 second-team All-American lineman Vernon Gholston, and also had two tackles for minus yardage, one sack, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Washington, 21, 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, the Indianapolis native 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.
Clifford had played in four games, totaling eight tackles.
The Buckeyes' final workout before the holidays was on Wednesday. They will be off until returning on Dec. 26, then will practice for a week before flying to New Orleans on Jan. 2.