The Ohio State football team broke records and multiple streaks Saturday night, many of which were not positives.
The Buckeyes dropped their first home opener since 1978, due in part to a lack of offense as they allowed seven sacks, six of which occurred in the fourth quarter.
The loss also snapped OSU’s streak of 25 consecutive regular-season wins, which was the longest such streak in the country.
Coach Urban Meyer said postgame that he was “very disappointed” with the way his team performed in front of a record crowd of 107,517, in Ohio Stadium.
“We had all kind of issues that we have to get a lot better at,” Meyer said. “We also had a lot of dropped passes…we just have to do a better job.”
Redshirt-senior offensive lineman Darryl Baldwin said the offense, which was four of 16 on third downs, needs to do a better job to help out the defense.
“We just haven’t been able to get on a roll offensively,” Baldwin said. “Defense has been playing well and when we get these opportunities, we haven’t been taking advantage of them. Those three and outs have been killing us.”
Not only could the Buckeyes not convert third downs, they could not complete passes. Redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett completed just nine of his 29 attempts, including three interceptions — the last of which was taken back 63 yards for a score by Virginia Tech junior cornerback Donovan Riley.
Despite a less than stellar showing, Meyer said he thought his quarterback did well with what he had.
“Gutsy effort,” Meyer said. “Obviously not good enough, but a quarterback is a product of those around him, and we all have to get better.”
The Hokie defense lined up in zero coverage — a formation with no deep safeties — for most of the game and crowded the line of scrimmage, daring the Buckeyes to throw the football. It was a tactic co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said the OSU coaching staff had not expected.
“They played something we hadn’t prepared for so it took quite a bit of adjusting,” Herman said. “We had to find some ways to get to the speed option game, and we did that during the second half. We got a little momentum back on our side but couldn’t make the plays in the end.”
After a year in which the Buckeyes were near the top nationally in yards per game in 2013, when then-junior Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde each rushed for over 1,000 yards, OSU managed just 108 rushing yards against the Hokies. Barrett, who suffered the seven sacks, led the team with 70 yards on the ground.
The next leading rusher for OSU was sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, who carried the ball just eight times for 32 yards.
Baldwin said he was disappointed that OSU could not move the football on the ground.
“The run game opens up the entire offense,” Baldwin said. “It really just opens up everything and we just couldn’t get it started.”
Although the running game struggled, Herman said the loss cannot be blamed solely on one unit or person.
“From myself on down to the players, it was certainly not one position or one thing that you can say, ‘this is the reason,’” he said.
Meyer said that the team will regroup and come back ready to go on Sunday.
“So anxious to get back to work tomorrow and get a little better,” Meyer said. “We had a good meeting as a team (after the game).”
The Buckeyes are set to begin preparations for their next game against Kent State, which is scheduled to kickoff at noon on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium.