Unfortunately, Ohio State will not be taking the field this fall after the Big Ten decided to cancel the 2020 fall season. While we here at Land-Grant Holy Land are equally as upset about it as all of you in Buckeye Nation, that isn’t going to stop us from providing you with the football content you crave over these next few months.
This is 12-for-12: Ohio State’s Perfect Season. In lieu of an actual football season this year, we have put together a full 12-game schedule for the Buckeyes using one game from each of the last 12 years. The docket is complete with three non-conference opponents, nine Big Ten showdowns, and will also include a three-game postseason with a Big Ten title game and College Football Playoff matchups. We tried to use the best games from each of the 12 years to fill the slots, but some had to be left out to avoid duplicate opponents in the regular season.
We will also be keeping a running total of the regular season’s stat leaders as if all of these games were occurring over one full season. There are many different players that have come through the program during this 12-year span, so only the top three guys in each category will be listed. In the end, we’ll have an interesting concoction of who led the Buckeyes over this 12-game Frankenstein season.
Game one on the schedule: Ohio State at Virginia Tech (2015).
Tale of the Tape
In 2014, the year Ohio State went on to win the National Championship, the Buckeyes hit a massive road block when they lost at home to Virginia Tech in Week 2. Thrust into action following a preseason injury to Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett’s first home start was one to forget. The freshman QB completed just nine of his 21 pass attempts for 219 yards with three interceptions, ultimately leading to the team’s 35-21 defeat.
Fresh off a national title, Ohio State traveled to Blacksburg to kick off their 2015 campaign, looking to avenge their lone downfall from the year prior. The Buckeyes returned nearly their entire starting roster from the team that had won it all, but brought into the season a quarterback controversy between Barrett and Cardale Jones. Playing in front of a tough home crowd under the lights, Ohio State trailed at halftime. Would Urban Meyer’s team once again fall victim to Frank Beamer’s Hokies?
Ohio State came out hot in this one. After forcing an immediate three-and-out thanks in part to a combination sack from Tyquan Lewis and Gareon Conley of Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer. The Buckeyes’ offense began their drive with good field position from around their own 35-yard line, and capped off an eight-play series with a gorgeous 24-yard TD pass from Cardale Jones to an interfered-with Curtis Samuel to take an early 7-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for Ohio State to find the end zone once again. After forcing another punt on the ensuing Hokies possession, it took just one play for the Buckeyes to increase their lead, courtesy of an 80-yard TD run by Ezekiel Elliott on his first carry of the game.
It looked as though Ohio State was about to run away with things early, but Virginia Tech caught a second wind. After the two teams traded possessions that ended on missed field goals, the Hokies scored their first points of the day on a huge 51-yard TD pass to Sam Rogers, cutting the Buckeyes’ lead in half. VT really began to seize momentum as the crowd got back into the game, and the ensuing interception thrown by Jones did not make matters any easier for the road team.
Virginia Tech would manage only a field goal after beginning with the ball in plus territory following the pick, but would add to the scoreboard again before things came to a close in the first half. Ohio State’s defense got a stop with under two minutes remaining in the period, but Elliott fumbled the punt return on his own 38-yard line. The short field set up yet another Hokies touchdown, and after the Buckeyes’ hot start to the night, they found themselves trailing 17-14 at the break.
Ohio State began the second half with a bang. A 20-yard keeper from Jones set the Buckeyes up around midfield, and former-QB-turned-receiver Braxton Miller did the rest. Jones found Miller in single coverage against the safety down the sideline, and the speedster burned the defense for a walk-in 54-yard TD to retake the lead.
Miller’s heroics for the night would not stop there. Both teams offenses were quiet for much of the rest of the third quarter as Ohio State clung to a 21-17 lead. After a number of punts back and forth, Virginia Tech fumbled near midfield, and the Buckeyes recovered. On their very first play of the ensuing drive, Miller hit the spin move heard around the world and was off to the races on what became a 53-yard TD run.
From there, Ohio State began to flex its muscle. An interception by Tyvis Powell on the Hokies’ next possession set up a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive by the Buckeyes, ending with a 10-yard TD scramble by Jones. Following another three-and-out by VT, J.T. Barrett entered the game for his first offensive series. His first keeper resulted in a gain of 40 yards, and on the very next play he hit Michael Thomas in the end zone for a 26-yard TD, OSU now coasting with a 42-17 lead.
It was the backups in for the remainder of the night, and Ohio State would go on to win 42-24. The Buckeyes struggled a bit early on after their first two scoring drives, but things really looked to be firing on all cylinders later in the second half. Overall, the team put up 572 yards of total offense against Virginia Tech, and the defense looked solid as they came away with four sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.
Ohio State begins the 2020 LGHL Season with a 1-0 record, coming away with a big road victory in the first game of the year.
LGHL Season Stat Leaders (OSU 1-0)
- Cardale Jones: 187 Yds / 2 TD / 1 INT
- J.T. Barrett: 26 Yds / 1 TD / 0 INT
- Ezekiel Elliot: 122 Yds / 11.1 Avg / 1 TD
- Cardale Jones: 99 Yds / 7.6 Avg / 1 TD
- Braxton Miller: 61 Yds / 12.2 Avg / 1 TD
- Braxton Miller: 3 Rec / 79 Yds / 1 TD
- Michael Thomas: 2 Rec / 46 Yds / 1 TD
- Curtis Samuel: 2 Rec / 32 Yds / 1 TD
- Tyquan Lewis: 1.5
- Sam Hubbard: 1.0
- Three tied at 0.5 (Gareon Conley, Darron Lee, Tommy Schutt)
- Tyvis Powell: 1
Ohio State will look to keep things rolling in the early goings of the season next week, when they take on yet another big non-conference opponent in No. 12 Miami (2010).