Michigan vs. Ohio State: John Simon Would Be Insurmountable Loss for Buckeyes

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 22:  Austin Brown #11 of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers throws the ball past John Simon #54 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the fourth quarter on September 22, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated UAB 29-15. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Senior defensive end and captain John Simon is a game-time decision for the Ohio State Buckeyes, according to Matt Barnes of NBC 4 in Columbus, Ohio:

As we told you on-air, we've learned John Simon is likely a game-time decision to play tomorrow with an unspecified injury

— Matt Barnes (@Matt_NBC4) November 24, 2012

Simon goes under the radar on the national scene but he's as crucial a piece of the Buckeyes defense as there is. The 6'2", 263-pound Simon has been in on 38 tackles this season, including five sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

He's forced a fumble, defended three passes, and generally been a nuisance for every offensive line that he's gone up against.

Stats are great, but they only begin to scratch the surface of what John Simon means to the Ohio State Buckeyes defense.

With an insatiable desire for success, a motor that never quits and an infectious attitude that forces his teammates to raise the level of their play, Ohio State can't replace what Simon means to its entire defense—or the impact that he has on it.

He's been very productive against the Wolverines over the course of his career, with six solo tackles, 10 assists, 1.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss.

On Saturday, Ohio State needs Simon to not only get to Devin Gardner under center and Denard Robinson in the backfield, but to take away the outside edge for both, forcing the play to the middle of the field.

Without Simon on the field, what is already a tall order—containing Gardner and Robinson—becomes an almost impossible feat to pull off.

Ohio State needs "Big" John Simon on the field as much as it needs Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde.

He's that important to its success.