Ohio State put several long winning streaks on the line Saturday night against Virginia Tech: 25 straight regular-season victories, 35 straight wins in home openers and 64 straight against unranked, non-conference opponents at Ohio Stadium.
Something less tangible was on the line as well. Ohio State considers Virginia a key area in recruiting. A victory would help the Buckeyes’ chances in the Old Dominion State.
“Virginia’s got great talent,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
The Buckeyes lured senior linebacker Curtis Grant and freshman defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes from Richmond and Norfolk, Va., respectively.
Josh Sweat, a five-star defensive lineman from Cheseapeake, Va., rated the fifth-best player in the class of 2015 by Rivals.com, was scheduled to attend the game Saturday, as was Matthew Burrell Jr., a four-star offensive lineman from Woodbridge, Va.
Ohio State receivers coach Zach Smith, who’s in charge of recruiting Virginia, called it a huge game because the winner gets bragging rights.
“This game is a huge stage for us to compete against the home state school,” Smith said. “Success against them will help us recruit their state, which is a really positive thing for me recruiting there if it goes well and vice versa for them. If it goes well for them, it’s going to be harder for us.”
The Buckeyes and Hokies play a year from now in Blacksburg, Va., too.
“Virginia’s a hard state to recruit,” Smith said. “From (the University of Virginia) to Virginia Tech, there are deep ties in that state. It’s tough to get a kid out of there. There are some states that are transient. Guys leave all the time. Virginia is not one of them.”
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