Tuesday, September 8, 2015

On The Mark 9.8.15: Ohio State #Buckeyes vs. Virginia Tech Recap

Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller shine for the Buckeyes in 42-24 revenge win against Virginia Tech
By @MarkW2112

Hello and welcome to another season of Buckeyes football!  It's been 8 long months since the Buckeyes won the first ever National Championship trophy and their first game of the 2015 season was a rematch against the Virginia Tech Hokies, who beat the Buckeyes in the second game of the year in Columbus. This year, it was the number 1 ranked Buckeyes who pulled out the big win, 42-24 in Blacksburg, VA.

Urban Meyer kept his starting quarterback a secret until the very first play of the Buckeyes offense.  But it really came as no surprise to see Cardale Jones, who had 3 of the greatest games in college history to end last season, as the starting quarterback.  And he started off this season where he left off, throwing amazing passes and running with power.  He finished the game 9/18 for 186 yards, 2 touchdowns and interception while carrying the ball 13 times for 99 yards and 1 touchdown.  While Jones was mostly solid, with an excellent pass and touchdown catch to Curtis Samuel, it was Braxton Miller who stole the show with 2 show stopping touchdowns.  The converted wide receiver caught 2 catches for 78 yards, including a fantastic 54 yard where he kept his balance while staying inbounds.  His second touchdown was on a spectacular 53 yard run which included an amazing spin move.  J.T. Barrett did come in during "garbage" time to throw a touchdown to Michael Thomas, making it 42-17. 

The defense struggled some after the Buckeyes went up 14-0 early in the first half, especially the secondary.  The Hokies, led by Michael Brewer at quarterback, scored 17 unanswered points before halftime.  While taking some big hits, Brewer was in control throwing some big time throws including a 51 yard touchdown to fullback Sam Rogers and another 1 yard TD before halftime to Ryan Malleck.  However, to start the second half, after saying during halftime that it would "take a hell of a lot more than that to take me out", Brewer was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury on a big hit by Adolphus Washington.  Junior quarterback Brenden Motley came in to the game and the Buckeyes defense were able to easily shut him down.  Motley finished 4 of 9 for 36 yards passing, a touchdown and an interception.

Thoughts:  The Buckeyes started out quickly on offense, lagged a little bit after being up 14-0 and showed in the second half  how powerful the  offense can be with 28 unanswered points until the very last few minutes where the Hokies scored a garbage time touchdown to make it 42-24 final.  Braxton Miller proved that he is still a dynamic player with his 2 show stopping touchdown plays.  Ezekiel Elliot was able to break away for an 80 yard touchdown run himself and finished with 122 rushing yards on 11 carries.  The possibilities are endless once Jalen Marshall and Cory Smith return next week.  As far as the defense, they were able to hold their own without Joey Bosa.  But with him coming back, look for a more disruptive defense to appear.  That said, there is work to be done in the secondary which got burned multiple times in the first half.

Player Of The Game:  Braxton Miller, who's conversion to receiver/h-back proved to be fluid with his big day both catching and running the ball for touchdowns.

Biggest Factor: The Hokies losing Michael Brewer was deflating for their offense, especially after getting them up 17-14 before the end of the first half.  

Up Next For The Buckeyes: the home opener at "The Shoe" in Columbus against Hawaii

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