Two days removed from the spectacle that was Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State on Monday night at Lane Stadium, let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways from the 42-24 lopsided affair that resulted in the Buckeyes leaving Blacksburg victorious.
Virginia Tech Must Run the Ball Better
If Virginia Tech hopes to be competitive in the ACC, the Hokies must establish the running game. J.C. Coleman, Travon McMillian and Trey Edmunds received most of the carries during the game against Ohio State, but the trio was never able to get the ball moving. Coleman led all rushers with 43 yards on the ground, while McMillian added on 27 yards. Edmunds averaged only 2.1 yards per carry, amassing a meager 31 yards. None of the running backs reached the end zone.
However, Coleman did steal show as the senior running back was spotted on the field sporting a golden watch because it was apparently “his time” though his performance and the Virginia Tech rushing attack on a whole stated otherwise.
Sophomore Marshawn Williams did not play.
The Hokies are in Trouble without Michael Brewer
Before Michael Brewer exited the game in the third quarter with a broken collarbone, the senior quarterback was 11-16 with 156 yards and 2 touchdowns and his team was only trailing by 4 points. Although the outcome of the Ohio State game will forever be based on “what could have been,” Brewer’s injury does have more serious implications for Hokies during the rest of the season. He is expected to return in 4-6 weeks, but the Hokies will be lead during those weeks by backup Brenden Motley, who finished Monday night 4-9 with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Motley will have to play better during the games that Brewer is on the sidelines for if the Hokie offense hopes to score. He can do so by throwing to star tight-end Bucky Hodges, who had zero receptions against Ohio State.
The Hokies Secondary is Weak
Led by pro-prospect Kendall Fuller, the Hokie secondary was supposed to shine this season. However, Bud Foster’s crew was picked apart by Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones. The Buckeyes accumulated 212 yards through the air and 3 touchdowns, including the Michael Thomas stop-and-go route that absolutely made Fuller look silly. In addition to the secondary, the Virginia Tech defensive line (Dadi Nicholas and company) also did not play well.
I am open to the suggestion that in both of these cases the answer simply is that Ohio State truly is just that good.
Braxton Miller is (Maybe) the Real Deal
On Monday night, Braxton Miller hauled in 2 catches for 78 yards and 1 touchdown and rushed for 62 yards and 1 touchdown. The ridiculous highlight play in which he spun off a would-be tackler and sprinted 53 yards to the end zone stole the highlight reel. However, I am still not quite ready to declare Miller a first round NFL pick after just one performance at wide receiver. Although he did accumulate big stats and does have insane athletic ability, Miller must sustain the high performance level throughout the season.
All Hail Cardale
Urban Meyer (of course) made the correct decision in starting junior Cardale Jones against Virginia Tech. Jones threw for 186 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception without even playing in the 4th quarter. He completely exactly 50% of his passes. While J.T. Barrett is a proven talent in his own right, Jones possesses that “something extra”- the something that keeps fans waiting on the edge of their seat. He has finally proven to Meyer that he is mature enough to lead the Buckeyes and direct the offense, and Jones showcased his impressive arm strength throughout the game against Virginia Tech.
Last season, Jones led the Buckeyes past Alabama and Oregon en route to the National Championship, and if he continues to play like he did on Monday against Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes may cruise to a second consecutive championship. Surrounded by talented offensive weapons like running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receivers Braxton Miller and Samuel Curtis, Jones and the Buckeyes can outscore any team in the country. Additionally, if worse comes to worst, J.T. Barrett was 12-1 run as a starting quarterback last season.
For now though, all hail Cardale.