Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) runs past Oregon Ducks linebackerTyson Coleman
(33) in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Ohio State won 42-20. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Control Ezekiel Elliott
Last year the Hokies dodged a bullet in a since by Ezekiel Elliott being injured, and only having a handful of touches. Elliot as the season progressed became a handful for defenses and proceeded to have an amazing year. This season Elliott is healthy and extremely dangerous. Already on most people’s list of Heisman candidates, controlling Elliott will be paramount for any Hokie success.
The defensive scheme for the Hokies nullified the zone read, which is how Elliott ripped off a lot of his big gains last season. The Bear defense gave the Buckeyes fits, while allowing the talented Hokie front line to control the line of scrimmage. This defense should in theory work again against this talented Buckeye offense. However, I would be extremely naïve if I thought Urban Meyer, and company didn’t have adjustments to spring their star running back.
To stop Elliott not only will the defensive line be extremely important, but the linebacker corps as well. Deon Clarke and Andrew Motuapuaka will have to be sure tacklers in space. If any assignments or tackles are missed it could be an extremely long night for the Hokies defense.
Last season Deon Clarke was blowing up plays in the backfield all night long. This year for the Hokies to have success in stopping the Buckeyes stellar running back, Clarke is going to be a similar disruptive force in the Ohio State backfield. If the Hokie defense can manage to stop Elliott or at least hold him in check it will bode very well for a Virginia Tech victory.
Next: Execution is Key!