Not Ready For Prime Time: Buckeyes Embarrassed by Virginia Tech with 35-21 loss
Even with a record crowd of 107,517 fans as well as LeBron James giving them a pre-game pep talk, the Ohio State Buckeyes inexperience and youth got the best of them. Virginia Tech was just too much for them both offensively and defensively, leading to a 35-21 loss that showed the Buckeyes have a long way to go to become a competitive team.
The most glaring problem was the lack of pass protection from the young defensive backfield. While the defensive front put pressure on VT quarterback Michael Brewer, he was still able to find wide open receivers, especially on third downs. Brewer finished the night 23-of-36 for 199 yards with two touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He was calm, cool and collected all night and was able to shake off some big hits by the Buckeyes defenders. He did lose a fumble on a big hit by Joey Bosa, which led to the game tying touchdown on an Ezekiel Elliot run, but otherwise Brewer was on the mark (no pun intended)
J.T. Barrett, on the other hand, had a very difficult night. Between his receivers dropping easy passes and his offensive line being blown up by the VT defensive front, Barrett looked like a freshman starting his first game under the big lights. He was a horrific 9-of-29 for 219 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. He was also sacked 7 times and hurried on many others, including a pass that was intercepted and returned for a pick six to close out any rally chances near the end of the game.
The run game was also non-factor. Barrett led all rushers with 70 yards on 24 carries. With exception to his excellent game tying run, Ezekiel Elliot was held in check most of the night along with Chris Samuel.
Michael Thomas led all receivers with 98 yards on 6 receptions, including a 58 yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Dontre Wilson did have the catch of the night when he was able to take the ball off the defenders helmet for a 40 yard reception. Corey Smith, who was targeted many times, had a night to forget, dropping many passes including a sure fire touchdown pass.
With the dropped passes, non-existent pass coverage and an offensive line resembling swiss cheese, it was an extremely long night for the Buckeyes and their fans.
Player of the game: Michael Brewer, who was able to stay calm in the face of an aggressive Buckeyes defensive line and find his receivers, wide open more times than not.
Goat of the game: No, this is not for Greatest of All Time. Sean Nuernberger missed 2 field goals and, after Elliot tied it up, had his kickoff go out bounds which lead the Hokies to take the lead back for good 28-21.
Runner up: Corey Smith who’s night consisted of dropped passes and badly run routes.
What coverage? The Buckeyes defensive backs were nowhere to be found almost all night, leading to open receivers and many third down conversions for the Hokies.
What’s Next: The Buckeyes take on Kent State at the Horseshoe next Saturday at 12 PM. Will Urban Meyer and the coaching staff make changes to try and steady the ship that is bringing in water? It will be an interesting week in Columbus.