Prior to Saturday night’s primetime game, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Virginia Tech Hokies had never played each other on the football field. The two programs had combined for over 2400 football games but none versus each other. Last night, the Hokies traveled to Columbus to take on the eighth ranked Buckeyes in front of over 107,000 fans, the biggest crowd in the history of the horseshoe.
The Hokies were able overcome costly turnovers and penalties to beat the Buckeyes which had not lost at home under coach Urban Meyer. The Hokies were led by quarterback Michael Brewer’s two touchdown passes and a defense that was able to overcome Buckeye’s vaunted rushing attack. Virginia Tech led 21-7 at the half thanks to rushing touchdowns from Shai McKenzie and Marshawn Williams and a Michael Brewer touchdown pass to full back Sam Rogers.
However, Ohio State was able to take advantage of turnovers in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 21. The Hokies responded with a key touchdown drive of their own in response to take the lead for the final time on a pass from Brewer to Bucky Hodges.
Sep 6, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Michael Brewer (12) celebrates after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 35-21at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Hokies defense did a terrific job of containing J.T. Barrett, the replacement starter for injured All-American Braxton Miller. Barrett finished just 9-29 for 219 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Barrett also rushed 24 times for 70 yards. Bud Foster’s defense accumulated seven sacks in the game.
The biggest key for Virginia Tech in the game came on third down. The Hokies converted 9 of 16 third down plays over the course of the game, extending drives and winning the field position battle. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes were just 2 for 12 on third down. The play on third down may have been the biggest indicator of the tone of the game. While the Hokies were extending drives on offense, their defense was shutting down Ohio State and creating more opportunities on offense for the Hokies.
Ohio State was the highest ranked team Virginia Tech has ever beaten on the road. Virginia Tech, who had been 0-34 against top eight teams away from home prior to the game, beat a top-10 team away from home for the first time since beating Miami in 2004. The Hokies will now have to avoid a potential trap game against East Carolina. The Hokies will most likely be ranked in the top 25 for the first time this season will need to continue to play tough defense and continue to showcase their improved offense led by Brewer, McKenzie, and Williams against the Pirates.