Ohio State has its revenge.
And while it didn't need to beat Virginia Tech a year ago to claim a national title, the Buckeyes won't have that loss hanging over their heads this season after a successful start to defending their crown. The Buckeyes battled back from a halftime deficit to cruise to a 42-24 victory on Monday night at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Cardale Jones got the start at quarterback and added to his unbeaten streak. Braxton Miller made his return to action after missing all of last season, and the redshirt senior picked up where he left off with a pair of touchdowns. And while there were some shaky moments on special teams, the Buckeyes had little to complain about after answering some early questions and picking up a valuable road win over a Power 5 opponent.
What the win means for Ohio State: The unanimous preseason No. 1 might not have looked flawless all game long, but there were plenty of flashes of the ridiculous potential the Buckeyes have on both sides of the ball. They were shorthanded thanks to four suspensions to regular contributors, but that hardly seemed to matter with the offense continuing to hit explosive plays, the defense forcing a couple of turnovers and Urban Meyer proving once again that he knows how to motivate a talented roster and make crucial halftime adjustments. After losing to Virginia Tech a year ago, Ohio State's title hopes are actually ahead of schedule this time around.
What the loss means for Virginia Tech: The Hokies weren't expected to spring another upset, so dropping a decision to the defending national champions isn't really an issue. But the third-quarter injury to quarterback Michael Brewer, a broken collarbone, could be a problem moving forward for the Hokies. Virginia Tech has more than enough defensive talent to make a run in the ACC this fall, but it looked limited offensively without its starter under center. Virginia Tech might not have to score all that much to win games, but it's going to need to find some fixes for the passing attack.
Player of the game: Braxton Miller. After missing all of last season with a shoulder injury and then switching positions, the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year looked plenty comfortable at wide receiver and H-back, and every bit as explosive as he used to be in his return to action. Miller took a few snaps as a Wildcat quarterback and busted out a ridiculous spin move on a 53-yard scoring run that looked like 2013 all over again. The most encouraging sign for Ohio State moving forward was his diving reception early and a 54-yard grab later that went for a touchdown.
Unsung hero: Sam Hubbard isn't going to steal Joey Bosa's job, but the redshirt freshman certainly did a pretty good impression of the star pass-rusher while filling in at defensive end in his first career start. Hubbard recorded a sack and showed off his strength and athleticism, which will give Ohio State more depth in the trenches down the road with Bosa set to return from his one-game suspension on Saturday against Hawaii. There were some minor concerns about the inexperienced defensive linemen the Buckeyes trotted out to open the season, but Hubbard helped emphatically erase them for a unit that will only get better as the season progresses.