Location: Ohio Stadium. Columbus, OH
Coverage: 8:00 EST ESPN
The Virginia Tech Hokies football program has had decades of success under Frank Beamer and Bud Foster, but the one big knock has always been the fact that the Hokies do not play anyone tough non-conference. In years past, the Hokies have taken strides in the competitive direction playing Alabama in the Georgia Dome twice and both USC and Boise State at Fedex Field. Unfortunately for the Hokies, they have not won a single one of those contests which only furthers the belief that this team can not play with the powerhouse programs in college football. On Saturday night, the Hokies have a possibility to make a huge statement in a true road game up in the Horseshoe, but the number eight ranked Buckeyes will look to stand in their way.
Virginia Tech Offense vs Ohio State Home Crowd
The key for the Hokies offense will be how first year Quarterback Michael Brewer can handle the hostile crowd and one of the most aggressive defenses in the country. The Buckeyes have not lost a game at home since November 19th, 2011 carrying the Nation's third longest active home win streak with 15 consecutive wins. Luckily for the Hokies, Ohio State DE Noah Spence will be held out of this game from a suspension back in January. With this being only Brewer's second start with the Hokies along with two freshmen tailbacks and some freshmen pass-catchers, I give the nod to the raucous Buckeye crowd.
Ohio State WR vs Virginia Tech Secondary
The Virginia Tech secondary has been lauded by many to be the best secondary unit in the country and they are capable of backing up that high praise. True Sophomore CB Kendall Fuller was a five star recruit who had an immediate impact last year with six interceptions and 58 tackles. Fuller is undoubtedly the best prospect on the Hokie roster and may be the top CB taken in the 2016 NFL draft following his big brothers Kyle, Vincent and Corey into the NFL. Kendall is not alone in the secondary with fellow Sophomore CB Brandon Facyson along with Senior Safety Kyshoen Jarrett coming off of great seasons. They will be tested by one of the best WRs in the country in SR Devin Smith. Smith is one of the best route runners in the country and made an immediate impact with an 80 yard touchdown last weekend against Navy. I give the nod to the Hokies secondary in this one and expect Freshman QB J.T. Barrett to have a tough time finding holes all night long.
Players to Watch:
Ohio State: All eyes will be on Freshman QB J.T. Barrett in his first real prime time test, but I think the play of Sophomore RB Dontre Wilson will be something to watch. Wilson was a major recruit and fits the mold of the Urban Meyer running back to perfection. Wilson has elite speed and if he gets into the second level often, it could be a long night for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech: While the major NFL prospects for this team are on the defensive side of the ball and the future of this program lies in the young talent at the skill positions, the player that could win the game on Saturday is Senior WR Willie Byrn. Byrn has carved out a niche in the last four years as a safety valve for any Hokie QB and is a go-to guy when the Hokies need a big first down or touchdown. While Freshmen Isaiah Ford, Marshawn Williams, Shai McKenzie and Bucky Hodges demand the headlines, it will be Willie Byrn that demands double coverage on Saturday.
Prediction: Ohio State 27 Virginia Tech 17
Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster will have the Hokies defense ready thanks to a veteran and star studded secondary, but the offense will simply not be able to put up enough points to hang with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Head Coach Urban Meyer is just too good of an offensive mind to have his team fall to a young and unproven offense such as the Hokies.