A number of Buckeyes paused in the second half during a break in the action Saturday and turned their attention to the big screen high above the stands to watch the highlights of Michigan State’s 46-27 loss to Oregon.
Earlier in the night, fans had cheered the announcement of Michigan’s 31-0 loss to Notre Dame. There weren’t any cheers for the Michigan State score, or for Purdue’s loss to Central Michigan or Northwestern’s loss to Northern Illinois.
Maybe Ohio State fans realized they might soon be joining those Big Ten schools on the day’s list of losers, and that’s what happened. A bad day for the Big Ten continued as Ohio State lost 35-21 to Virginia Tech at Ohio Stadium.
This is not the type of day the conference needed if it hopes to get a team into the first College Football Playoff, but there’s a long way to go. For the Buckeyes, that’s the only way they can take this loss.
“It’s very disappointing, but we have to bounce back and be ready for Kent State,” defensive tackle Adolphus Washington said. “I think as a whole team we didn’t play well when we needed to play well. We had spurts throughout the game but not when we needed it the most.”
Running game: The Buckeyes continue to share the load in the ground game, but they didn’t spread out the carries as much against Virginia Tech as they did against Navy.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett gained 125 rushing yards, but he also lost 55 yards. He was sacked seven times.
Ezekiel Elliott ran eight times for 32 yards. Curtis Samuel had five rushes for 22 yards. Dontre Wilson ran the ball twice and lost five yards. Middletown grad Jalin Marshall did not have any carries after carrying the ball three times against Navy.
Virginia Tech had a lot to do with Ohio State’s failures in the run game. It stacked the line of scrimmage, chased Barrett with abandon and dared him to pass.
“Everybody was within six yards of the line of scrimmage,” Meyer said. “We tried. There’s two unblocked defenders standing right there at the point of attack. We did have a couple of big hits: one touchdown by Zeke and some plays in the option game. But there’s no inside run game when they do that. And it happened a little bit our first year. Purdue did it and Cal did it where they just completely shut us down.”
Special teams: Freshman kicker Sean Nuernberger made his only two field-goal attempts against Navy but missed two in the first half against Virginia Tech.
“It set us back a bit,” Meyer said.
Punter Cameron Johnston also had a 24-yard punt in the first quarter that allowed Virginia Tech to start a drive at the Ohio State 43-yard line. The Hokies took advantage and scored the first touchdown of the game on a two-yard rush by Shai McKenzie.
Stats and notes: Michael Thomas led Ohio State receivers with six catches for 98 yards. … Linebacker Curtis Grant led the defense with 9½ tackles. … Safety Vonn Bell and cornerback Eli Apple each had interceptions.
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