Top-ranked Ohio State cruised to a 42-24 win over Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium on Monday night, announcing its defending-national-champion presence with authority.
Only Doug Gottlieb wasn’t impressed.
The Buckeyes trailed 17-14 at halftime, committed two turnovers, and repeatedly asked Cardale Jones to run the option as opposed to just handing off to Ezekiel Eliottt and flinging the ball downfield. It wasn’t an awful performance from Ohio State, but a great one? Gottlieb says no.
Pat Forde, however, disagrees.
“I was certainly impressed with Ohio State,” the Yahoo! Sports college football columnist said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I was not overly impressed with the offensive response to Virginia Tech’s game plan. Virginia Tech has maybe the best defensive coordinator in football and what they threw at Ohio State was good – really good. They took Ezekiel Elliott away basically. Hearing (Urban) Meyer explain it last night, they play kind of a bear defense, but they were doing some shifting on their line and they felt like Ezekiel Elliott wasn’t going to go anywhere. So yeah, I think the response from Ohio State was a little bit curious to make Cardale Jones the runner as opposed to letting him sling it. But I think part of that may be a factor of not having all those receivers. They had three receivers suspended, including their best one, Jalin Marshall, and they may have just figured, ‘We don’t trust the guys we’re trying to throw it to right now.’ But I think just in terms of talent and depth of talent – go on the road, play a good team in a tough environment and win easily – I was impressed with Ohio State.”
It’s good that the Buckeyes impressed a lot of people Monday – because they won’t have a chance to make another statement like that for quite some time. The upcoming slate includes Hawaii, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan – all at home.
“Yeah, Ohio State’s schedule is a huge buzz kill,” Forde said. “I was talking to the Ohio State writers last night and I was like, ‘I’ll see Nov. 21 (when Ohio State hosts Michigan State). There’s not a very good reason to go cover them until then because they’re going to beat everybody by 50. Mismatch city. It’s just a bad, bad schedule. They don’t play the good teams from the (West) division of the Big Ten. So until they play Michigan State, there’s nothing there. It’s disappointing if you want to see Ohio State get pushed to see how good it could be. I suppose there’s a possibility – like with Kentucky basketball – (that) if they’re not pushed, if they’re not challenged, maybe they’re not ready when push comes to shove at the very end of the season. We’ll find out.”
One thing we found out about Ohio State on Monday is that Braxton Miller is going to be a special player this season. Miller had two touchdowns of 50+ yards – one receiving, one rushing – against the Hokies and finished with 140 yards on just eight touches.
“Some guys go to college and get switched out of quarterback to defensive back or wide receiver as a freshman,” Forde said. “He’s doing it as a senior. He’s played quarterback at a high level. I was just blown away by watching what he did, and I was happy for him. He missed last year and they win the championship without him. He could have transferred. He could have done a lot of different things. (But) he comes back – and to have that success was great.”