The Big Ten's awful Saturday grew even worse with Virginia Tech's upset of Ohio State. The Buckeyes offense crumbled behind a discouraging showing from freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, who struggled through one of the worst fourth-quarter performances in recent memory.
In shocking Ohio State, the Hokies showcased a balanced offensive attack while also highlighting their ballhawking defense. Quarterback Michael Brewer tossed two touchdowns to different receivers while Marshawn Williams and Shai McKenzie both ran in scores of their own. Defensive backs Kyshoen Jarrett and Donovan Riley combined for three interceptions, including the pick-six that effectively ended the game.
For Ohio State, little went right. The ground game sputtered, with only Ezekiel Elliott finding any holes to run through. While the Buckeyes hit on three passes of 40 yards or more, Barrett turned the ball over three times in crucial situations.
The now 1-1 Buckeyes will try to recover against Kent State next Saturday, while Virginia Tech returns home to take on East Carolina.
Three things we learned
1. All hope is just about lost for the Big Ten's Playoff aspirations
Two weeks into the season, the Big Ten's hopes of producing a championship team might already be dashed. Virginia Tech's upset topped off a dreadful day for the conference, which also saw Michigan State blow a big lead to Oregon on the road and other losses. The Big Ten entered the season facing long odds, but to lose several chances at a postseason berth merely two weeks into the season is the worst way for the conference to enter the Playoff era.
2. Barrett shrinks in second start
A week ago at Navy, Barrett looked like an effective, albeit limited, replacement for the injured Braxton Miller. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, that performance might have been a flash in the pan. Against Virginia Tech, Barrett completed only nine of his 29 passes, tossing three picks in the process. That was a far cry from the 226 yards on 12-of-15 passing he produced in his first start. It was also troubling that Barrett's worst quarter was the fourth, when he endured six sacks and two interceptions.
His offensive line deserves a significant share of the blame, as it had no answer for Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster's constant pressure packages. That's now two weeks in a row in which the young Buckeye line has looked totally overwhelmed.
3. Virginia Tech might have a decent offense for the first time in years
It's been a while since Frank Beamer's team consistently moved the ball and put up points against quality opponents. Now two games into the 2014 season, the Hokies have shown some early signs of life on offense. Only 324 yards might not sound like much, but it was enough to put up 35 points in a road game against a top team.
Facing a talented Ohio State defense, Virginia Tech spread the ball around to receivers Ryan Malleck, Willie Byrn, and Sam Rogers while producing multiple scores with it's ground game. While quarterback Michael Brewer turned the ball over twice, he made enough plays running the option and throwing the ball to suggest a bright future is ahead.