Game of the Day: Ohio State at Virginia Tech

Sep 6, 2015 |
Game of the Day: Ohio State at Virginia Tech
Sportsbooks opened the Hokies as 12.5-point underdogs, but that's since been bumped up to +14.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Sportsbooks opened the Hokies as 12.5-point underdogs, but that's since been bumped up to +14.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Ohio State at Virginia Tech (+14, 53)

Top-ranked Ohio State starts its quest to repeat as national champion when it visits Virginia Tech on Monday. The Buckeyes will certainly be gunning for the Hokies as their lone defeat of their championship season came when Virginia Tech posted a 35-21 victory at Ohio Stadium.

The Buckeyes haven't decided whether J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones will start but it will be no surprise if both quarterbacks see action. Barrett was Ohio State's signal caller most of last season and passed for 34 touchdowns and ran for 11 more before fracturing an ankle and Jones guided the Buckeyes to their final three wins, including the title-game triumph over Oregon. "We've still got time to decide," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer told reporters. "I think a lot of it is going to be in-game, how's it going, and do we need a change." Virginia Tech has been to 22 consecutive bowl games but the program has slid in recent campaigns and is 22-17 over the past three seasons.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.

LINE HISTORY: Sportsbooks opened the Hokies as 12.5-point underdogs, but that's since been bumped up to +14.

INJURY REPORT: Ohio State - C. Jones (probable), N. Brown (out for season), M. Weber (late September), J. Bosa (eligible), J. Marshall (eligible Sept. 12), C. Smith (eligible Sept. 12), D. Wilson (eligible Sept. 12). Virginia Tech - S. McKenzie (eligible Sept. 12).

WEATHER: The forecast is calling for partly sunny skies with eastern winds of 5-10 mph.

CHEERLEADER WAR:



ABOUT OHIO STATE (2014: 14-1): There are no questions at running back with title game MVP Ezekiel Elliott back for his junior campaign. Elliott rushed for 696 yards and eight touchdowns in the Buckeyes' final three contests last season and totaled 1,878 rushing yards - second in school history behind Eddie George's 1,927 in 1995 - and 18 rushing touchdowns. The defense absorbs a hit for the opener due to the suspension of 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Joey Bosa (a junior end who had 13.5 sacks in 2014) but still has plenty of talent in senior defensive tackle Adolphus Washington (10.5 tackles for losses), senior weak-side linebacker Joshua Perry (team-best 124 tackles), sophomore strong-side linebacker Darron Lee (7.5 sacks) and sophomore cornerback Eli Apple (three interceptions).

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (2014: 7-6): Senior quarterback Michael Brewer is striving to be more consistent this season after throwing 15 interceptions to go with 2,692 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. Senior running back J.C. Coleman (533 yards in 2014) won the starting gig and injury-prone junior Trey Edmunds will also get some work, while sophomore receiver Isaiah Ford (56 receptions, six touchdowns) and sophomore tight end Bucky Hodges (45 catches, seven touchdowns) are solid targets. The top player on the defense is junior cornerback Kendall Fuller (eight career interceptions), who is on his way to becoming the fourth brother in his family to be selected in the NFL Draft and each of them (Vincent, Corey, Kyle) also starred at Virginia Tech.

TWEET BEAT:



TRENDS:


*Hokies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.
*Over is 4-1 in Hokies last 5 home games.
*Buckeyes are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
*Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.

COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 57 percent of users are backing the reigning champion Buckeyes.
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