BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Braxton Miller unleashed a spin move here. Cardale Jones trucked a herd of defenders there. Just about everywhere, save for a few drives, Ohio State did what it wanted, when it wanted, how it wanted.
In Week 1.
Against the lunch-pail defense that has become a Virginia Tech institution.
What happened in Lane Stadium on Monday night qualifies as a veritable warning to college football. The Buckeyes throttled Virginia Tech for 42 points, 360 yards rushing and 572 total yards -- averaging a whopping 10.2 yards per play.
Ohio State dominated when the season ended last year, definitively earning its national championship. But it took the Buckeyes a while to get there. This opener showed so much more, if only because the options on offense have mushroomed.
The Buckeyes can trot out two starting quarterbacks. Scratch that. The Buckeyes will trot out two starting quarterbacks from here on out: Jones and J.T. Barrett will both play. With Ezekiel Elliott. With Miller. With so much more now than they had back in January, when they crushed Oregon.
Ohio State scored 42 on the Ducks, its peak performance in a season filled with them. Eight months later, the Buckeyes came back and started with 42.
"We're missing a guy like Noah Brown," Jones said afterward. "It might have been more on the scoreboard."
Let that register. Brown is out for the season, and Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson and Corey Smith all sat out the opener serving a suspension. Ohio State had two turnovers and a few busts on the offensive line early in the game. Elliott had only 11 carries. Jones hit just 50 percent of his passes.
And the Buckeyes still scored 42.
"It's kind of scary," Elliott said. "We were missing guys and we still just had so many weapons on the field today. We get some guys back next week and I know we can all improve on our play. We're very raw right now. First game of the season, that's what you expect but we have so much we can improve on. That's a scary thing. We could be very dominant."
Raw? Not the description most who watched would use. Urban Meyer also nitpicked his team, saying Jones played "OK," his offensive line was not its best and two turnovers are unacceptable.
All true. His challenge, given the dizzying options, talent and depth on offense, is to keep his players grinding for more. Week 1 cannot be the pinnacle. Five hundred yards? Great. Fewer mistakes, more perfection, please.
Still, this qualifies as a monumental starting point given what we saw out of Miller in particular. His presence adds a dimension that Ohio State simply did not have last season. He is a new and improved version of Percy Harvin, if only because he is bigger and more versatile (hello former quarterback!).
Harvin made some incredible plays under Meyer at Florida, but nowhere on his résumé does he have the spin move Miller made on his 53-yard touchdown run, cutting through two Virginia Tech defenders as if they were ghosts.
To reiterate, Miller played in his first game ever at receiver.
Jones, while stellar at times, also showed he has plenty to do in the passing game. Meyer said, "When you're 9-of-18 throwing, that's not good enough." The interception he threw across his body is not something Meyer wants to see again.
Then there is Barrett, perhaps the biggest X factor on this team. Barrett was in complete command of this offense before he got hurt last year, and failed to win the starting job because, in part, Jones ended the year as the starter.
Meyer said he thought about playing Barrett earlier than he did, but opted to stick with Jones. Juggling two quarterbacks throughout the course of the season -- when to pull one, why to pull one -- is a dicey proposition he never had to face last year. He pulled a balancing act at Florida in 2006, when he had veteran Chris Leak and freshman stud Tim Tebow. But Tebow lacked the experience Barrett brings to this offense, and was used primarily in running situations. No comparison should be drawn.
Barrett can be used in any situation, and yet, he stood on the sideline for most of the game. If Ohio State needed a visual reminder about how blessed it is at quarterback, all the Buckeyes had to do was turn to Virginia Tech backup Brenden Motley, flailing for most of the game after starter Michael Brewer went down with a broken collarbone.
Frank Beamer gladly would have traded. Ohio State, then, must live with all its riches and decide how to spread the wealth from one talented player to the next. In that respect, nothing supersedes how Meyer manages his quarterbacks.
"There's not a formula," Meyer said after the game. "Will it change and adapt throughout the year? I don't know, remains to be seen."
When asked a second time about how delicately he has to proceed with his quarterbacks, Meyer said, "This journey's going to be interesting. We have to make sure that I'm not screwing it up."
After Monday night, it is hard to see how that happens.