Last night Ohio State’s worst nightmare was realized. J.T. Barnett is not Braxton Miller. Not that we thought he would be. It’s tough to step into a pressure cooker game for your second start and perform even close to the two time Big 10 offensive player of the year. And in Barrett’s defense, the whole team looked over matched. This was not as close as one would think. Virginia Tech seemed in control of the game from the beginning.
Virginia Tech’s strategy was to flood the box and force Ohio State to beat them with the pass. They could not do so. Barrett was 9 for 29 passing and threw three interceptions. And they were bad interceptions. He looked lost trying to figure out the Tech defense and at times seemed to just throw the ball up in the air.
Flooding the box also worked. OSU ran for only a 108 yards, a 2.7 yards average. Not what Ohio State fans are used to. Certainly Miller was missed but so was Carlos Hyde. The Buckeyes have not found that featured back to carry the load. Dontre Wilson tried, but the inexperienced offensive line had difficulty opening up holes to run through.
The defensive line again looked stout allowing Virginia Tech only 125 yards rushing. The defensive backfield did not play bad giving up only 199 yards passing, but the receptions were timely and often were short passes that led to 3rd down conversions. The defense did produce two turnovers which led to points in the second half.
The scary thing is the Buckeyes were dominated by a team I don’t believe is that good. Brewer is a serviceable quarterback, but he doesn’t have a strong arm, is not very fast, and appears to hold the ball too long. I think other teams will find that they can sack him rather easily. The defense was decent, but they were able to take advantage of a quarterback still trying to understand the position. There were receivers open. A more experienced quarterback will take advantage of that.
But the intangible factor was emotion. Virginia Tech seemed to have it, OSU didn’t.
The Buckeyes continue to have a lot of questions to answer. If they don’t find solutions quickly, it could be a long season in Columbus.