10 Things: Buckeyes Blast Hokies

Ohio State pulled away from Virginia Tech on Monday evening to beat the Hokies in front of the eyes of the nation. BSB editor Jeff Svoboda breaks down the top performances and more in his "10 Things" blog.

1. So, it was Cardale all along, eh? I don't think anyone knew that outside the team -- or maybe even inside the team -- but Ohio State gets credit for running a quarterback competition that appears to have been fair and totally in-house. As for Jones' play, I think he passed with flying colors. The first half could have truly been a disaster with a lesser quarterback in the game simply because Virginia Tech sold out to play aggressive defense; that in turn occasionally meant free runners, but Jones either juked them or made plays with a guy all over him, using his tree-like 6-5, 250-pound body to withstand a pounding and still deliver the ball. The interception was a mistake -- no one was open, and he tried to force it to Nick Vannett -- but it was still a tip-drill play, and it's fair to say Jones was a bit discombobulated like the entire offense in the second quarter. But at the end of the day, the Buckeyes gambled his big arm and poise would win out against the Hokies, and it did. Now, the question becomes what happens going forward. But for right now, don't worry about it and just be excited about the riches the Buckeyes have at the position.

2. I really do think Jones made about five plays a normal human -- or 99 percent of other living quarterbacks outside of Ben Roethlisberger -- could have made. The one that was absolutely insane to me was the first play of the fourth quarter as he avoided the rush, moved to his left and appeared set the run the ball with the pigskin firmly planted in his left hand. Then he saw the corner covering Johnnie Dixon rush forward, so Jones stopped, switched the ball from his left to his right hand and used his arm strength and nothing else to throw the ball to a wide open Dixon behind the defense all while being hit. Just ... how?

3. With that in mind, I think Jones' most impressive quality -- and there are many -- is his ability to absorb a beating and show no signs of being worse for wear. We marveled last year about him running over Oregon's defensive tackle a few times, but the crazier part is Cardale never seemed to show any real ill effects. Last night, he threw multiple passes with a player draped all over him and avoided multiple sacks simply with his body strength. How many 5-year-old children do you think could hang off of him without bringing him down? Is the answer like 10? He's a human Jungle Gym, essentially.

4. I can't get past the fact that it seems like Ohio State didn't play anything close to a complete game and still basically dominated, holding a 42-17 lead before a garbage time TD and posting nearly 600 yards of offense. And that's with basically taking the second quarter off. Most teams have to do the little things, like "catch all of the punts hit to them," and "make field goals." It doesn't really matter for Ohio State. The big things overwhelm the little things with this team, but the Buckeyes are pretty good at most little things, too. They can always be better, of course, but that's what the next few weeks are for.

5. Stealing this one from my coworker Ryan Ginn -- when most teams like Virginia Tech lose their starting quarterback, the game is basically over. When Ohio State does it, it wins the national championship.

6. Inside joke here -- one of my favorite Urbanisms is his propensity for saying the phrase "That's real," which I think is a pretty useful term. A lot of time, let's be honest, we deal in BS in the sports world, but when Urban says something is real, it at least goes to show the concern or point we've brought up has some validity to it. So it caught my ear when Joshua Perry said it last night -- but in the context of the emotion Braxton Miller showed after the game in the locker room. "It's all real," Perry said. "That's the thing you like. You really appreciate and respect the realness of the moment." The emotion was obvious from Miller when he caught his first pass and when he scored his touchdowns, too. What a great moment for someone who has done a lot for Ohio State, and after basically 18 months of rehab, he deserves it. 

7. Oh, and Miller is really good too. That was the first time he's ever played the position in a competitive game and still became the first Buckeye in a decade to have a 50-yard run and reception. Virginia Tech played a game plan that in some ways led to the latter -- manning up outside was always going to end in the Buckeyes making a few big plays in the passing game -- but the former is the run people will talk about for the rest of days. He just makes it look so easy, and the spin move, well, that was special. And silly. Humans shouldn't have that ability. He didn't slow down for an instant and showcased balance that few humans can even dream of possessing. I've seen some pretty special moments of brilliance covering this team for the past decade-plus, but that one might take the cake.

8. Have gotten this far without even mentioning the defense, but I don't think it was a great night for the stop troops. At the end of the day you'll take the numbers -- 24 points allowed, two turnovers forced, 2.9 yards per rush -- but the Buckeyes never quite seemed comfortable until Michael Brewer was out of the game. I think the pieces are there for the Buckeyes to keep getting better, and the makeshift line was good but not great in its debut. But there's still some soft spots on this team. Props, though, for stopping Virginia Tech three times in OSU territory in the third quarter, setting up the backbreaking scores.

9. I'm not sure what I think about the team's brashness after the game. Michael Thomas was admittedly funny on Twitter with his takedowns of Kendall Fuller (seriously, his hashtag #cornerbackslivesmatter will crack me up for the next week), and Thomas is the kind of player who seems to have a burning desire to prove himself against others (perhaps a year of prep school and a year of redshirting play into this) so his trash talking of Fuller is not hugely surprising. But the Buckeyes weren't exactly gracious winners on Twitter at times after the game. This doesn't bother me as a person -- I love my sports characters big and brash -- but it does make me worry just a smidge about mind-set and focus. Just a smidge. 

10. OK, everyone seems to want to look ahead, as I saw numerous tweets and articles after the game saying the Buckeyes won't be challenged again until the Michigan State game. In college football, you can't take anything for granted, but it's hard to argue with that right now. The Buckeyes just faced an aggressive, talented defense suited in many ways to slowing them down -- without three key playmakers, remember -- and still hung nearly 600 yards on them. Most of the upcoming opponents simply don't have the firepower to hang with the Buckeyes. Michigan State and Michigan, on paper, don't either. I'm not sure who does, to be honest. It might take some sort of four- or five-turnover, Bill Simmons-esque "No f'ing way" game to beat the Buckeyes -- who had one of those in the national title game last year but still beat Oregon by 22. So yeah, these guys are good. Enjoy the ride.


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