Rapid Reaction: Dominant second half turns potential scare into OSU rout
Final: No. 1 Ohio State 42, Virginia Tech 24
Telling stat: 249 yards before Michael Brewer injury, 71 after
It was a completely different game with the Virginia Tech quarterback in the game. He gave the Hokies the lead with his arm and more importantly, gave them hope. To lead the unanimous No. 1 team in the country at halftime is a feat in itself. But Adolphus Washington pile-drove Brewer into the ground at the start of the third quarter. It ended his night, and unfortunately for the Hokies, it ended their night.
Key play: Braxton Miller’s SPIN THAT BROKE THE INTERNET
In case you somehow missed it, the former quarterback pulled off the play of the weekend with a ridiculous spin that turned into a 53-yard touchdown run. Two different Virginia Tech defenders swung and missed on the spin. More importantly, it turned a four-point lead into a comfortable two-score game. The mic was dropped. Welcome back, Mr. Miller.
-Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett…both still ridiculous
Urban Meyer pulled off the minor surprise by starting the charismatic Jones over the steady Barrett. Jones had his downs. He forced a tipped ball that was intercepted and only completed nine passes. Still, he showed off his big arm on Miller’s first TD and made an impressive off-balance throw to Curtis Samuel that got the Buckeyes on the board. J.T. Barrett didn’t come in until the Buckeyes made it an 18-point game at the start of the fourth quarter. And of course, the Big Ten single-season touchdown record holder delivered. He promptly broke off a 40-yard run and delivered a 26-yard touchdown strike to Michael Thomas. Meyer was right. Both quarterbacks saw action and he didn’t shuffle between them. His guy is Jones, but Barrett out of the bullpen is awfully scary. We knew this.
-Zeke Elliott was also ridiculous..ly underused
We got this deep into a rapid reaction without talking about the best player on the field. Fitting, because Meyer didn’t get the Heisman candidate involved early. Elliott had four first-half carries, the first of which went for 80 yards and a score. Of course it did. The internet was insistent on blasting his lack of touches. Meyer didn’t want to adjust to the Hokies loading the box and shifted the ground game to Jones. Zeke still finished with 122 yards and showed why he’s a Heisman candidate. Even more telling was the fact that the Buckeyes rushed for over 10 yards per carry. The scary part? The offensive line didn’t even play its best game.
-Special teams was not perfect
Jack Willoughby missed a 43-yard field goal, Elliott muffed a punt that brought Virginia Tech back in the game and Cameron Johnston had a sub-par punting performance with a 39 yard average. Special teams are often shaky early, even for the best teams. In a closer game, those plays could’ve come back to seriously bite the Buckeyes. Meyer will make that a major priority.
What it means: It’s still unanimous
All the people that were flipping out when the Buckeyes trailed at halftime were silenced by that second half. Darron Lee and Jalyn Holmes made some key stops, Eli Apple recovered a fumble and Tyvis Powell made a dagger interception. You can go on for days about the impressive individual plays with the Buckeyes. The reality is, Ohio State looked human in the first half. Maybe the foot came off the gas in Virginia Tech’s 17-0 second-quarter spurt. The second half, however, was a different story. You hate to say a team has a light switch, but the Buckeyes turned something on in the second half to turn a potential disaster into a rout. And that was without the nation’s best defensive player and three MORE offensive weapons. Yes, this team can be special.
What’s next: vs. Hawaii
On the bright side Hawaii, at least you’re getting a nice paycheck.