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Virginia Tech Football: Scouting The Ohio State Buckeyes

The time has come. Saturday, September 6, is just days away as the Virginia Tech Hokies prepare to take on the eighth ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. We all know that OSU is a very dangerous team, both on offense and defense. But just how dangerous are they? And do the Hokies have what it takes to pull off the upset?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

This is the first meeting between Virginia Tech and Ohio State, so there is no history breakdown this time around. But one thing to keep in mind is that it can be argued that Ohio State was the best or one of the best college football teams of the BCS era. The Buckeyes are at the top of the list in BCS bowl appearances with ten and went (6-4) in those games. They also won the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Miami, which served as the BCS National Championship Game.

But here's a look at what they did in 2013:





Vs. Buffalo

W, 40-20


Vs. San Diego State

W, 42-7


@ California

W, 52-34


Vs. Florida A&M

W, 76-0


Vs. Wisconsin

W, 31-24


@ Northwestern

W, 40-30


Vs. Iowa

W, 34-24


Vs. Penn State

W, 63-14


@ Purdue

W, 56-0


@ Illinois

W, 60-35


Vs. Indiana

W, 42-14


@ Michigan

W, 42-41


Vs. Michigan State (BIG Ten CG)

L, 34-24


Vs. Clemson (Discover Orange Bowl)

L, 40-35

(Overall: 12-2) (Conference: 8-1) (Home: 7-0) (Away: 5-0) (Neutral Field: 0-2)

Ohio State averaged 45.5 points per game and 7.1 yards per play last season in a very competitive BIG Ten Conference and never scored less than 30 points in a single game, going against top defenses in Michigan State (4th), Michigan (13th), Wisconsin (15th), and Penn State (29th). They were also ranked 34th in total defense for the 2013 season, allowing an average of 359.58 yards per game. The Buckeyes dominated the BIG Ten until the championship game run-in with Michigan State, which proved to be the better team, defeating the Buckeyes and going on to beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Ohio State meanwhile went on to lose to the ACC's Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl, which turned out to be a very entertaining game.

Who did the Buckeyes lose?

Well I would be saying they return Heisman hopeful quarterback Braxton Miller, but as we all know Miller is out for the season. So this is the big loss for Ohio State. Miller passed for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns last season, averaging 174.5 yards per game. Miller completed 63.5 percent of his passes and had a 158.1 passing efficiency. He also was the second leading rusher with 171 carries for 1,283 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and 89 yards per game. It's obvious that Ohio State's offense revolved around Miller, his ability to pass, scramble, extend plays, and gain yards on designed runs.

They also lose leading rusher Carlos Hyde who ran for 1,527 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2013. Hyde averaged 7.3 yards per carry and 138.3 yards per game. He was one of the hardest runners I've seen in a while and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Also gone is three year starting offensive lineman and first team All-american team captain Jack Mewhort, who was drafted in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 NFL Draft. Along the offensive line, Ohio State also loses center Corey Linsley, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFL Draft. Linsley was also a team captain and was voted first team All-BIG Ten by the coaches and media last season.

Defensively, Ohio State loses two first round picks in cornerback Bradly Roby and outside linebacker Ryan Shazier. Roby was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 31st pick. He started and played in all 37 of his career games for the Buckeyes, had eight career interceptions, and 44 passes defended. Meanwhile, Shazier was drafted with the 15th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had 315 career tackles, led Ohio State in tackles in both 2012 and 2013, and was named a team captain.

The Buckeyes also lose free safety C.B. Bryant, who was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams. He started for three years at Ohio State but suffered a broken ankle during the Wisconsin game in 2013 and missed the rest of the season.

Who Returns for Ohio State?

Five returning starters on offense. Eight returning starters on defense. Two All-BIG 10 selections: defensive end Noah Spence and defensive tackle Michael Bennett.

Offensively, the Buckeyes bring back wide receiver Devin Smith who had 44 catches for 660 yards and eight touchdowns. Along with Smith, wide receiver Evan Spencer returns. He had 22 catches for 216 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. They also bring back a tight end with a lot of production as Jeff Heuerman returns. Heuerman had 26 catches for 466 yards and accounted for four touchdowns last season. Along the line, tackle Taylor Decker and guard Joel Hale return.

The key returnees that are probably Ohio State's pride and joy are the front seven on defense, which only lost Ryan Shazier from last season. This is said to be one of the best units in the country. In 2013 this group accounted for 290 tackles and 28 sacks. A freshman, defensive end Joey Bosa had 7.5 sacks, 13.5 TFL, and 44 tackles. Look for him to have an even better sophomore campaign. They are all good, guys. This is a fierce and cohesive unit.

In the secondary, the Buckeyes return two starters in cornerback Doran Grant and Tyvis Powell. Grant had 58 tackles, 13 passes defended, and three interceptions for 40 return yards in 2013. Meanwhile, Powell racked up 48 tackles, had three passes defended and recorded one interception.

Their Expectations?

The preseason AP Poll had the Buckeyes ranked 5th but that was with Braxton Miller at quarterback.

In a very competitive conference, only defensive tackle Michael Bennett was a preseason All-BIG Ten by ESPN. (No official release from the BIG Ten). Most had the Buckeyes losing at least one game in the BIG Ten and finishing either first or second in the conference.

New starting quarterback J.T. Barrett went 12-of-15 for 226 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the season opener versus Navy. He also rushed nine times for 50 yards. This team changes a lot with the loss of Braxton Miller, but the talent is still there with Barrett, it's just not as fine tuned and polished. Barrett has the ability to do the same things as Miller but his youth will force the rest of the offense to perform at its best 24/7 and help out the young quarterback in bad situations.

My Prediction:

With Braxton Miller at quarterback, I had the Hokies losing this game by anywhere from 14-21 points. I think he's that good and makes that much of an impact on a game. Plus I believe the Ohio State's defensive front seven is the best in the country like many others do as well.

Now with Miller out, it is a fact that Virginia Tech's chances of winning this game increase drastically. I think that Barrett will have some trouble finding his groove versus Tech's defense, and Bud Foster will send everything but the kitchen sink at the freshman. But I still believe that Barrett will find a way to make plays and his teammates will bail him out in a lot of situations.

This will be a mid scoring game. Tech will try to manage the game with running the ball and let Michael Brewer work his magic through the air, maneuvering the hurry up offense down the field. If the Hokies want to win I think they will need to score at least two non-offensive touchdowns in this game. That's the only way I see them winning.

I DO think the Hokies have a great chance at the upset, and this is the game that those chances are at the highest point when it comes to facing top ten teams is past years. But I don't see it happening.

Ohio State defeats Virginia Tech: 31-24