According to Sportsline.com, the Ohio State Buckeyes are a double digit favorite for Saturday’s game against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Buckeyes’ J.T. Barrett will be playing starting his second game overall, and his first game at home. So far, Barrett has shown tremendous poise for Ohio State, but he’ll have to control his emotions early against a vaunted Virginia Tech defense.
Virginia Tech has been known for great defense, but they have been lacking any explosiveness on the offensive end in recent years. They did put up 34 points against William & Mary, but they are stepping up in class Saturday night.
Ohio State put up 34 points in their win over Navy as well, so both teams were able to find the end zone. However, Saturday might be a different story as the game unfolds. Urban Meyer stated that the Buckeyes will have a chance for more big plays due to the style of Virginia Tech’s defense. However, Ohio State also has the chance to be shut down completely. For a large portion of the game, expect the match up to be controlled by the defense.
Ohio State’s offensive line will be under siege if they don’t perform well from the opening snap. They have to hit first and get physical with the Hokies. They also have to give J.T. Barrett enough time to pass the ball. Yet, if the Buckeyes lose the game, it will be blamed on the Braxton Miller injury.
The Hokies swarm to the ball in and only gave up 110 yards on the ground last season. If Virginia Tech can limit the big plays, they’ll be able to control Ohio State’s tempo. They can also force Barrett into some mistakes as the game tightens up.
The biggest shock will come if Ohio State can consistently drive the ball down field with the running game. Not only will it be shocking, it will be disheartening for the Hokies if they give up long drives for touchdowns.
Which team can force more turnovers? There will be some special plays made on both sides of the ball, and Virginia Tech can’t afford to give Ohio State a short field. The Buckeyes turned last week’s game with a fumble recovery for a touchdown against Navy.
Not only is this game big for Ohio State, this game could be a difference maker for the Big 10 and Michigan State.
Ohio State is still on schedule to wind up in the college football playoff. Until further notice none of their plans have changed. The Buckeyes have so much talent at the skill positions, it’s only up to the offensive line not to wilt under the Virginia Tech pressure. It will help that the Virginia Tech offense doesn’t score enough points in a winnable game.
Ohio State 24
Virginia Tech 17