The top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes begin their quest to repeat as national champions when they face the Virginia Tech Hokies on Monday night at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field in Blacksburg, Virginia. It will also be an opportunity for Ohio State to make up for the one blemish on their impressive 2014 season.
One year ago, Virginia Tech stunned the then-No. 8 Buckeyes, 35-21, in their lone loss of the season. The Hokies defense intercepted J.T. Barrett three times, held the Buckeyes' ground game to just 108 yards on 40 carries, and stopped Ohio State on third down on 12-of-16 chances.
This year's matchup may be an entirely different result. Urban Meyer's squad enter as 14.5-point favorites, and it's no surprise given their stellar running game. Junior tailback Ezekiel Elliott returns for the Buckeyes after a rushing for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2014. Ohio State also boasts an improved offensive line.
The Hokies seem geared up for another chance to play spoiler. Michael Brewer returns as Virginia Tech's quarterback after a strong effort against Ohio State last year. While he was intercepted twice, Brewer still passed for two touchdowns and completed 23 of his 36 attempts. Many consider the senior's supporting cast to be better than last year, which could make for a very interesting encounter against a hard-nosed Ohio State defense.
Frank Beamer, who has been head coach of Virginia Tech since 1987 and could be in his final season, would love to silence some critics with a victory over a program that has all 61 first-place votes. He described Ohio State as "talented" and "well coached," and quite aware of what's at stake on Labor Day.
“Never before has there been a unanimous No. 1 to start the year,” Beamer said. “To come to our place and open the season, that’s special. The game is big. The whole country will be watching. People will have an opinion about Virginia Tech after that game. We’re going to determine if that’s a good opinion or not.”
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Point Spread: Ohio State by 14.5 points
Over/Under: 53 points
Prediction: Ohio State over Virginia Tech, 30-21