Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech Prediction, Game Preview

    Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech prediction and full game preview. Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are looking to avenge last season's loss against the Hokies.

    September 7, 2015

    It’s the main event to close out the opening weekend with a national stage all there for the defending national champion. Ohio State is everyone’s preseason No. 1 team, and now it’s time to show it by flexing its muscle. The Buckeyes are more talented, deeper, and just better than every other team in college football – at least on paper. They were better than Virginia Tech when the two met almost exactly a year ago, too, but the Hokie pass rush discombobulated the OSU attack on the way to a 35-21 win. Instead of it being a deathblow to the Buckeye season, it turned into a jumping off point. Now it’s Round Two.

    Below we dive into the Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech prediction and full game preview.

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    Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech Prediction & Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Monday, September 7
    Game Time: 8:00 ET
    Network: ESPN

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    Why You Need To Care

    Lost in the phenomenal run by Ohio State to a national title in the first ever college football playoff was just how crazy the notion of dominance seemed 365 days ago. Now it seems so obvious in hindsight, but at the time, Virginia Tech’s win over the Buckeyes wasn’t just a stunning loss for Urban Meyer, it made it seem like the wheels were about to come off. Remember, Ohio State blew its shot at playing for the 2013 national title when it lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game, and then it got lit up by Tajh Boyd and Clemson in a wild Orange Bowl. After starting out the Urban era 24-0, partially because the schedule was squishy soft, the Buckeyes had lost three of their four games.

    It was the type of loss that used to ruin seasons – Ohio State would’ve been nowhere near the national championship discussion in pre-CFP era – but everything changed as the season went on, the team got stronger and stronger, and everything built to the epic three game run through Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.

    As it turned out, that loss to Virginia Tech might have been just the humbling experience the ultra-talented team needed.

    Now we know, though, the Ohio State could lose again to Virginia Tech and it probably won’t matter.

    Win the final 11 games, go to the Big Ten championship, win that, and Ohio State would be in the playoff again, but a loss means there’s no margin for error whatsoever. A loss would make the Michigan State game would take on an even greater significance – that’s the game OSU can’t lose – and it would also be sort of embarrassing.

    But Virginia Tech is good enough to pull it off.

    With a veteran team returning eight starters on both sides of the ball, and helped by one of the nation’s top defensive fronts and best secondaries, this is a good team – it’s far better than the one that came up with last year’s victory.

    While this game probably doesn’t matter all that much in the overall big picture goals for Ohio State, a win for Virginia Tech this time around would instantly change the dynamic of the national landscape.

    The Hokies came off the high of the Ohio State win to come up with a total dud in a loss to East Carolina. There was a 6-3 loss to a miserable Wake Forest team, and over the years there have been way too many misfires and gaffes. But the schedule this season is about as light as it can be for an ACC team with no Florida State, no Clemson, and with a week off to prepare for Georgia Tech. No one would suggest that a win over Ohio State would lead to the Hokies running the table, but if they’re good enough to beat the unquestioned top team, they’re more than good enough to blow through everyone else.

    Why Ohio State Will Win

    Lost in the lore and legend of last year’s game was how Ohio State had a chance. The Buckeyes were driving for a possible game-tying score before Donovan Riley ended the fun on a pick six. Absolutely everything went wrong for OSU with three turnovers and no protection whatsoever for J.T. Barrett, and yet it was still right there for the taking. The Virginia Tech offense was helped in large part by the takeaways from the defense and the worst day possible from Barrett. This time around, there’s a second option at quarterback if things aren’t working out as planned, and more than that, the Buckeye offensive line should be night-and-day better than it was a year ago.

    The Virginia Tech defensive front might be special but the Ohio State running game should be able to get physical from the start. As good as the Hokie front four was last year, no one stepped up and punched in the mouth besides Boston College, and it ran for over 258 yards. The last six times Virginia Tech has allowed 200 yards or more on the ground under Beamer, it’s 0-6. Ohio State averaged 264 yards per game last year and it should hover around the mark again.

    Why Virginia Tech Will Win

    The Hokie secondary that returns three starters from the brick wall of a pass defense should be able to clamp down on the very interesting Ohio State receiving corps. The top pass catchers last year? Devin Smith – gone. Corey Smith, Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson – suspended. Evan Spencer – also gone. Braxton Miller is going to be terrific in time, and Michael Thomas is probably the most underappreciated star on the team – leading the way with 54 catches last season – but all this Virginia Tech defense needs is a little bit of help to get the line in the backfield and throw the timing off. If the Buckeyes receivers aren’t terrific, the passing game might have all the same problems of last year’s game.

    Up front, as good as the OSU O line became as the season wore on, it had problems here and there in pass protection. Virginia Tech provided the most problems with seven sacks and several other near-misses – Barrett never had a chance to breathe. With an entire offseason to gear up and prepare, Hokie defensive coordinator Bud Foster – when he wasn’t making news in other ways – should have his D frothing at the mouth. The top four pass rushers are back.

    Player Who Matters

    Who’s really the better quarterback for Ohio State? Cardale Jones has the bigger upside and should be stronger over the long haul, but J.T. Barrett’s mobility against the Virginia Tech pass rush could make him more dangerous. Barrett took off for 70 yards and a touchdown against the Hokies, but completed just 9-of-29 passes for 219 yards with a touchdown and three picks. Even if there’s a quarterback rotation, the offense is going to rely on Ezekiel Elliott, who was stuffed for a season-low 32 yards with a score on eight carries in last year’s game. The Heisman spotlight will be on, and if he rocks on national TV, he’ll take the way-too-early lead in the race.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    What happens when you make an Urban Meyer team mad and well-focused? 59-0 against Wisconsin. This team – and this coach – seem to be able to rise up to the various challenges, and now that it’s on the big stage again after all the other big games this last weekend, now it’s time. Virginia Tech will come out roaring. The defense will hold the Buckeye offense in check, and it’s going to force a few too many misfires and empty trips. But on the other side, the not-talked-about-enough Ohio State defense and Joey Bosa-less pass rush will put on a clinic. The Hokie D will keep the game from getting out of hand early. The Hokie O won’t be able to do anything with its opportunities.

    Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech Score Prediction

    Without further ado, the Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech prediction is …

    Final Score: Ohio State 30, Virginia Tech 14

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