With Ohio State heading into the game ranked #8 in the nation and Virginia Tech not being ranked at all, some might call the 35-21 win for the Hokies a surprise, but considering it was J.T. Barrett at quarterback for the Buckeyes and not Braxton Miller, it shouldn’t be that shocking to see the end result.
Barrett had an awful day with only 9-of-29 completions, throwing one touchdown pass and getting intercepted three times. The last of them was the most costly, as Ohio State tried to come back in the final minute from a 28-21 deficit, inflicted on them by a touchdown pass from Michael Brewer, making plenty of mistakes himself, to Buckey Hodgers, with 8:44 left in the game.
Barrett threw it right into the hands of Donovan Riley who took it back 63 yards for a touchdown. It’s been a while since Virginia Tech have been under some sort of national spotlight as Frank Beamaer has undergone some rough years lately in Blacksburg. However, there has been talk about this season being the return to their 10,11 win traditions, and beating what on paper might have been the best team in the Big Ten certainly puts them in some kinds of discussion.
The Virginia Tech defense made the most of Barrett’s inexperience. They sent five or more pass rushers at him on 34 of his 43 dropbacks, resulting in seven sacks. What was surprising about the numbers is that the only touchdown throw from Barrett came against the Blitz, while the three interceptions came when the Hokies defense was hanging back, waiting for the play to develop. They usually weren’t disappointing with how it turned out.
The other big problem for the Buckeyes was their running game, gaining only 108 yards on 40 carries, not to mention just 42 yards on 14 carries inside the tackles. The Buckeyes had 4 yards before contact on those runs. The Hokies hit the Buckeyes’ ball carriers at or behind the line of scrimmage on nine of 14 rushes. Virginia Tech didn’t find too much success in their running as well, finishing with 125 yards on 41 carries.
Ohio State, like Stanford, had a long home-game winning streak going for them. With both the Buckeyes and the Cardinal losing at home, Fresno State, with 13 consecutive home wins, have the longest active streak. They host Nebraska, another Big Ten team, next week to try and keep it alive and provide another big nonconference blow to the Big Ten, with its teams unable to shake the stigma of being subpar in recent years during big games.
This wasn’t a pretty game. Six turnovers and 17 penalties for a total of 169 yards. Just how Frank Beamer prefers it to be. His quarterback was far from flawless. It’s hard to remember a Virginia Tech quarterback who didn’t pack a lot of flaws in his game. But Brewer made a lot less mistakes down the line, which sometimes is all that matters when both teams seem hell bent on shooting themselves in the foot as the game progresses.