All the buildup throughout the summer and over the past two weeks is at its crescendo, which means it time for the most-anticipated game in Lane Stadium. The rematch between the Virginia Tech Hokies, and defending national champion and preseason #1 Ohio State Buckeyes has arrived.
Many believe that this will be a great game, but just about every analyst is picking the Buckeyes to win this game tonight except for ESPN's Mark May. Now, it's time for The Tech Lunch Pail team to give you our predictions for the game that caps off the biggest weekend ever in Blacksburg.
Well, we're at it again folks. Today is officially game day and the kickoff of the 2015 Hokies football season. Exactly one year and one day ago today, the Hokies pulled off one of the biggest upsets in program history by besting Ohio State 35-21. One national championship for the buckeyes and a Military bowl win for the Hokies later, football is back in Blacksburg.
The rematch is the most anticipated game ever in Lane Stadium and needless to say, the fans are ready to get this one underway. Now for my game prediction:
QB Michael Brewer retained his starting job over the offseason and with one full season and another offseason under Loeffler's complicated multiple set offense, he will be ready to go and better than ever. As long as Brewer has ball security at the top of his priority list for tonight's game, there shouldn't be too many problems under center.
Tech's offensive line has many question marks with it and they will be watched closely tonight. Returning starters Jon Mcglaughlin, Augie Conte, and Wyatt Teller will hold down the group and try to make way for co-starters J.C. Coleman and Trey Edmunds at running back.
I believe the offensive line will struggle against the defensive line unit of Ohio State in the first half. However, Scot Loeffler will be adement about continuing to run the football and the Hokies run game will do well in the second half.
As for the defense, well do we really know what Bud has up his sleeve? I mean, yeah we bested the Buckeye offense last with the bear and playing no zone with our safeties, leaving Kendall and Brandon Facyson on islands at the field and boundary corner spots. But, knowing Bud Foster, he could have something completely different in store for the Ohio State offense tonight.
Tech returns all four starters on the line that beat up on J.T. Barrett last year. Deon Clarke is back and he will play a vital role again in the end spot in the bear scheme. The secondary is young but talented. Desmond Frye will start at rover for the first time and could be exploited by by the run game if he is used to play up in the box.
The Hokies will likely use the nickel position for most of the game which means Greg Stroman will get his share of snaps. Stroman is just a sophomore but is very talented at the position. I expect a couple deep ball plays from the Buckeyes but the Lunch Pail Defense will come to work tonight and get their job done.
The game will be close the whole way and I don't expect this to be a shootout by any means with two of the best defenses in college football on the field tonight. Each offense will get their chances but when it's all said and done the Hokies defensive front will be too strong for Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott to get much going. Hokies: 27 Buckeyes: 20
After waiting months for this game, Labor Day has finally arrived and the biggest game in Lane Stadium is almost here. A sellout crowd is expected at Lane Stadium with the floor to get tickets on StubHub dropping no lower than $170.
There is no doubt that this will be a very tough game for the Hokies going against an Ohio State team that has the potential to have five or more first-round picks in the 2016 NFL Draft. Ezekiel Elliott is one of the top contenders to win the Heisman this year along with whoever starts at quarterback for the Buckeyes, most likely J.T. Barrett.
Ohio State also has a lot of talent on defense, but will be without the player that ESPN ranked as the best in the country in Joey Bosa. Ohio State's defensive line is not as good as it was in last year's game while Virginia Tech's offensive line has definitely improved a lot.
Both teams are undoubtedly better with the Buckeyes having a top five offense and top 20 defense while the Hokies have one of the top-two defenses in the country. Ohio State's offensive line has improved a lot, but Virginia Tech has the best defensive line in the country and will get some pressure on the Ohio State quarterback.
Virginia Tech has plenty of talent in the secondary, and Kendall Fuller will be able to shut down the Buckeyes' main wide receiver for this game, Michael Thomas. However, the Hokies need to contain Ezekiel Elliott to under 115 to 130 yards on the ground or under an average of five yards per carry to prevent the play-action pass.
Michael Brewer has improved, but Ohio State's secondary is better than you would think as cornerback Eli Apple is one of the top 10 CBs in the country while Vonn Bell is one of college football's best safeties. Brewer will also feel some pressure in this game with the Buckeyes likely to use a lot of blitzes with Darron Lee and Joshua Perry.
This is going to be a tough game, but Virginia Tech has the type of defense that can keep it close. Ohio State will get some chances in the red zone, but the Hokies will be able to withstand some of the tests.
The environment at Lane Stadium will only help the Hokies even more while Bucky Hodges will be ready to have a big game. On paper and in many ways, Ohio State should win a close game by no more than 10 to 13 points against the Hokies.
However, screw it. Lane Stadium is one tough place to play and the Hokies' defense know how to rise to the occasion when they need to in the red zone. This game will come down to the end, but this is college football and crazy things happen in this game. Virginia Tech will make a statement to the nation tonight.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 17, Ohio State 16