September 7, 2014
The Ohio State Game - update 9/7 at midnight
Football: The Hokie Huddle

Hokies close weekend by being entering polls

Thanks to the Hokies’ stunning victory at Ohio State, they found themselves ranked in both The Associated Press poll and the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll.

Tech vaulted into The Associated Press poll at No. 17. The Hokies were the second-highest ranked ACC team in the poll behind Florida State, which is No. 1 in both polls. Louisville (No. 21) and Clemson (No. 23) are other ACC squads also ranked in the poll.

Notre Dame, a member of the ACC in all sports except for football but still plays several games each season against ACC teams, was No. 11 in both polls.

Tech entered the coaches’ poll at No. 19. Clemson and North Carolina came in at No. 24 and No. 25, respectively.

Tech was ranked for just two weeks all of last season. The Hokies got as high as No. 16, but fell out of the poll after a 13-10 home loss to Duke on Oct. 26 and never returned.

Arrival home one to remember

Most Tech coaches and players probably expected a few smattering of fans to greet the team once it arrived back at Cassell Coliseum after the Hokies’ 35-21 victory over No. 8 Ohio State.

But there were certainly more than a smattering.

An estimated couple of hundred fans greeted the travel party’s four buses around 4 a.m. on Sunday, only a couple of hours before daylight and a few hours after the Hokies recorded one of the biggest wins in program history. The crowd consisted of mostly students, who politely lined up on the sidewalk and high-fived the players and coaches as they got off the buses.

Of course, the “Let’s Go … Hokies” chant broke out.

The scene was similar, though on a much smaller scale, to the scene following Tech’s 2004 victory at Miami that clinched the ACC championship. Coincidentally, that was the highest ranked team Tech had beaten before last night’s stunner. Miami entered that 2004 game at No. 9 in the polls.

Several thousand fans, an estimated 6,000-7,000, jammed into Cassell Coliseum, and an impromptu pep rally was held, as the win over Miami led to the Hokies winning their first ACC title. But that Miami game was played early in the afternoon, and folks got to Cassell when the team arrived early that evening.

So to have such a crowd show up in the pre-dawn hours this morning is certainly impressive.

To get a glimpse of the crowd, check out the last photo in the photo gallery below (and you can also see other photos from the game!):

Virginia Tech Postgame Notes

• Virginia Tech has now scored in 245 consecutive games, extending its school- and ACC-record streak. It's now tied for the 11th-longest streak in NCAA history and is the fifth longest active streak after Michigan was shut out Saturday.

• Tech opened in a two-tight end set as Ryan Malleck and Bucky Hodges (1st start) got the start. Cam Phillips was the lone wide receiver to start, his first collegiate start.

Shai McKenzie scored his second collegiate touchdown in the first quarter and Marshawn Williams scored his first touchdown late in the quarter. Bucky Hodges scored late in the game, as well. Six of the first nine touchdowns on the season have been scored by freshmen (seven of nine by underclassmen).

• Fullback Sam Rogers caught his first career touchdown pass late in the first half, a 10-yarder.

• Ryan Malleck set a new career high with six receptions in the game. He had four catches against Miami in 2002.

Chuck Clark’s 11 tackles were a new career high (4 vs Alabama, 2013).

• Virginia Tech opponents missed all of three field goals in 13 games last year and have missed three already this year in two games.

• Tech’s defense came into the game having allowed 400 yards of total offense just once in its previous 14 games. Ohio State had gained 400 yards or more in 13 of its last 15 games. The Buckeyes had 327 yards of offense in the game.

• The last unranked ACC team to beat a top-10 opponent on the road came on Sept. 19, 2009 when Florida State defeated seventh-ranked BYU in Provo, 54-28.

• Prior to tonight’s win, Tech was 0-34 away from home vs top eight teams.

• Tech had three interceptions in the game, including one returned for a touchdown by Donovan Riley. It was Riley’s second career interception and first touchdown. Under Beamer, Tech’s defense has scored 84 TDs (56 on interceptions, 26 on fumble returns, two on fumble recoveries). Under Beamer, 86 different players on defense and special teams have scored touchdowns.

Kyshoen Jarrett had a career-high two interceptions, giving him four for his career. The last player to pick off two passes in a game was Brandon Facyson last season at East Carolina.

• Tech had seven sacks in the game, led by two from Dadi Nicolas and Derek Di Nardo. The last time Tech had seven or more sacks in a game was last year against Pittsburgh (eight). Tech also had seven sacks against East Carolina last season.

• Virginia Tech’s game against East Carolina next Saturday will air on ESPN and will kick at noon.


Virginia Tech marched into Ohio Stadium and made history, knocking off the No. 8-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 35-21 in front of 107,517 fans – the largest crowd in the venerable stadium’s history.

Ohio State had not lost a home game to an unranked non-conference opponent since 1982 (64 consecutive games). Yet Donovan Riley’s 63-yard interception return for a touchdown with 46 seconds left sealed it for the Hokies. At No. 8, Ohio State marked the highest-ranked opponent that the Hokies have beaten on the road.

The Buckeyes managed to tie the game at 21 after Tech quarterback Michael Brewer made a critical mistake. Holding on to the ball perhaps a second or two too long, he ended up getting stripped by OSU defensive lineman Joey Bosa. The Buckeyes recovered and took advantage, scoring two plays later on an Elliott Ezekiel 15-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21 with 11:40 left.

But Brewer responded after his fumble allowed Ohio State to score the game-tying touchdown. The Hokies took over at their own 35 after the Buckeyes kicked the ball out of bounds on the kickoff. Tech then went 65 yards in six plays, scoring when Brewer hit tight end Bucky Hodges for a 10-yard touchdown. Joey Slye’s extra point gave the Hokies a 28-21 lead.

Brewer completed 23-of-36 for 199 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Hokies had 320 yards of offense.

Tech’s defense held Ohio State to 327 yards and recorded seven sacks.

Hokies remain in the lead

Virginia Tech came out of the third quarter with the lead, but the Hokies certainly lost some momentum coming out of the locker room.

Tech amassed just 51 yards and three first downs in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Ohio State managed to cut the Tech lead to 21-14 on a 53-yard pass play from quarterback J.T. Barrett to Michael Thomas with 3:01 left in the quarter. The play was actually a short pass player, but Tech’s Brandon Facyson missed the tackle and Thomas went the rest of the distance for the score.

Brewer threw his second interception of the game in this quarter. He is now 21-of-32 for 178 yards, with a touchdown and the two picks.

The question remains – can the Hokies hold on?

Terrific first half for VT

The Hokies went into the locker room up 21-7 at halftime after a sterling drive to end the first half. Tech marched 61 yards on eight plays and finished it off with a 10-yard pass from Brewer to fullback Sam Rogers with 52 seconds left in the half. Brewer was 5-of-8 on the drive.

Ohio State had opportunities in the second quarter, but missed two short field goals. Sean Nuernberger hooked a 40-yard field goal early in the quarter and then hit the upright on a 27-yard attempt.

The Hokies out-gained the Buckeyes 198-172 in the first half, but more impressively went 7-of-10 on third downs and owned time of possession (17:30-12:30). Brewer completed 15-of-24 in the first half for 138 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He went 7-of-9 for 68 yards on third down.

Ohio State hasn’t trailed by 14 at halftime since a loss to Southern Cal in 2008.

Can the Hokies hold on?

Check out the halftime notes below:

Virginia Tech Halftime Notes

• Virginia Tech has now scored in 245 consecutive games, extending its school- and ACC-record streak.

• Tech opened in a two-tight end set as Ryan Malleck and Bucky Hodges (1st start) got the start. Cam Phillips was the lone wide receiver to start, his first collegiate start.

• Shai McKenzie scored his second collegiate touchdown in the first quarter and Marshawn Williams scored his first touchdown late in the quarter. Five of the first seven touchdowns on the season have been scored by freshmen (six of seven by underclassmen).

• Fullback Sam Rogers caught his first career touchdown pass late in the first half, a 10-yarder.

• Ryan Malleck tied his career high with four receptions in the first half. He had four catches against Miami in 2002.

• Chuck Clark’s seven tackles in the first half already eclipsed his career high (4 vs Alabama, 2013).

• The Hokies were 7-of-10 on third downs in the first half. Tech was 113th nationally in third-down conversions a year ago.

• Virginia Tech opponents missed all of three field goals in 13 games last year and have missed three already this year in six quarters.

• Tech’s defense has allowed 400 yards of total offense just once in its last 14 games. Ohio State has gained 400 yards or more in 13 of its last 15 games. The Buckeyes had 176 yards of offense in the first half.

Entertaining first quarter ends with Hokies in the lead

The first quarter was rather entertaining, as the Hokies got on the board first. Taking advantage of a poor OSU punt, Tech went 43 yards in 10 plays, converting three times on third down. Michael Brewer’s 13-yard pass to tight end Ryan Malleck on third-and-9 saved the drive, and the Hokies scored four plays later, on Shai McKenzie’s 2-yard run with 7:05 left in the first half.

Ohio State answered, though, on its next possession. Using the legs of quarterback J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes marched 83 yards and scored on Barrett’s 2-yard run. Barrett rushed for 61 yards on the drive, with the big play coming on third-and-9 from the Ohio State 18. He broke the pocket and rushed 25 yards for the first down on that one.

But the Hokies responded again. A58-yard drive ended when Marshawn Williams scored on a 14-yard run with 19 seconds left in the quarter. It marked William’ first collegiate touchdown.

Brewer completed 7-of-9 in the first quarter for 60 yards. Tech dominated time of possession (10:17 to 4:43) because of its ability to convert on third down. The Hokies went 5-for-5 in those situations.

Off to the second quarter we go, with Tech up 14-7!

Tech dress squad with a few changes

The Virginia Tech coaching staff pared down the dress squad for the Hokies’ first road game of the season. Against William & Mary, the Hokies dressed 78 players, but only 73 are going to dress for the Ohio State game.

The five who dressed for the William & Mary game, but aren’t in Columbus are Michael Santamaria, Michael Branthover, Adam Taraschke, Travon McMillian and Braxton Pfaff. Pfaff, an offensive lineman, was the only one of those five to play against the Tribe. The true freshman offensive lineman played five snaps late the game.

Also, Vinny Mihota, a true freshman defensive lineman, did not make the trip. Mihota’s spot on the dress squad was taken by another true freshman defensive lineman, Ricky Walker, who figures to become the 11th true freshman to play this season.

Tech’s staff planned on playing Walker against William & Mary, but Walker missed the game because of an injured knee suffered in practice a week earlier. That led to the coaches having Mihota dress for the game for emergency purposes.

Three questions for ESPN’s Holly Rowe

We caught with ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe at the team hotel last night after she and the ESPN crew had finished interviewing Tech head coach Frank Beamer, the coordinators and two players. Rowe will be the sideline reporter for tonight's Virginia Tech-Ohio State game, and we asked her three questions in advance of the game.

What is something that you will be keeping an eye on during the game?

“The environment. Ohio Stadium has been expanded. This will be the largest crowd in Ohio State history and how all these young players … there are a lot of young players spring through this Virginia Tech lineup and how they will respond, how Michael Brewer responds and how they will communicate. It’s a big deal.”

What is the storyline of the game?

“I think the story of the game is Ohio State’s offensive line against Virginia Tech’s defensive front. Ohio State has four new starters, and the fifth guy is playing left tackle, and last year, he was a right tackle. So they have a lot of new faces. This is their first home game, and they have a lot of new faces playing in front of a friendly crowd, but a loud crowd. So I’ll be watching to see how their young offensive line holds up against Virginia Tech’s defensive front. I think that’s a big deal.”

What do you think of Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer?

“I watched the William & Mary film and the first thing I was impressed with was that he was 6-of-8 on the first drive. I thought his composure for his very first opening game was remarkable. He was quicker. I liked his footwork a little more than I thought I would. I didn’t know what to expect. I liked his niftiness and confidence running the ball and extending plays.

“The other thing I learned was I talked to his dad today [Friday] on the phone, and he’s [Michael] a big fisherman. He’s a catch-and-release guy, and he’s got a kayak in the back of his truck and kayaks at his favorite fishing spot. I think that shows he’s an adventurous guy, and it shows in how he plays. He’s got some moxie.”

Tech to auction game-day experiences with equipment staff

The Virginia Tech athletics department is again sponsoring an auction that will reward three football game-day experiences with members of the equipment room staff, and all proceeds from that auction will be placed in a Virginia Tech Athletic Fund endowment, which funds student-athlete scholarships. The ultimate goal is to establish an endowment in the name of longtime equipment manager Lester Karlin.

This marks the third straight year in which Tech has auctioned off such an experience with the equipment staff.

The game-day experience begins with the Georgia Tech game on Sept. 20, and the winner gets to bring a friend. He or she and the friend will arrive at the stadium 3.5 hours before kickoff and get to experience a game through the lives of those who work in the equipment room. An equipment room full-time worker, graduate assistant or student will escort the pair throughout the day.

The other two game-day experiences up for auction will be for the Miami game on Sept. 22 and the BC game on Oct. 13.

This experience includes an all-access tour of the equipment room and football facilities, assisting in setting up the Hokies’ locker room before the game, taking a photo with head coach Frank Beamer while holding the prestigious Virginia Tech lunch pail, watching warm-ups and then listening to Beamer’s pregame speech before going through the tunnel and standing on the sideline during the game. The winners will wear the same official Virginia Tech clothing that the coaching staff wears. The experience wraps up with the postgame presentation of the game balls in the locker room.

Bidding for the Georgia Tech experience is open - Bidding closes on Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.

What To Do In Columbus ... From Someone Who Went To School There

Good morning, Hokies! I hope you are all getting ready for the game tomorrow in Columbus. I know that most of you have probably never been to Columbus, and Saturday is going to be a long day with game time set for 8 p.m. While I’m proud to be on the Hokie softball staff, I have some insight to the area, as I attended Ohio State University. So for you, I have put together a short list of things you can do while you are there.

1. Columbus Zoo: The zoo is one of the best in the country and is run by Jack Hannah. If you are looking for some good family fun, you can’t go wrong here. There is also a golf course at the zoo, if any of you are looking to get a round in before kickoff.
4850 Powell Rd.
Powell, OH 43065

2. Easton Town Center: If you want to do some shopping, Easton is the place to go. Easton is a huge outdoor mall with a wide variety of stores and restaurants. It is north of Columbus, so you should be able to avoid the football traffic.
160 Easton Town Center
Columbus, OH

3. Jack Nicklaus Museum: A tour through Jack’s museum takes you through the timeline of his career. If you are a golf fanatic, this is something worth checking out. The museum is located a few miles from Jack’s home on the OSU campus, so get there early if you are going.
2355 Olentangy River Rd.
Columbus, OH 43210

4. Short North Gallery Hop: On the First Saturday (this Saturday) of every month, the shops and boutiques in the Short North host the Gallery Hop. The Short North is located between the OSU campus and downtown Columbus on High Street and is the art/culture center of the city. During the Gallery Hop, you can walk the streets and visit all the shops (which will be having sales) and listen to live music in the street.

5. The Thurman Cafe: South of downtown in German Village is Thurman’s. Thurman’s is a burger joint and is probably the most famous restaurant in Columbus. If you go, definitely try the Thurman Burger! The restaurant is very small so allow plenty of time for the worthwhile wait.
183 Thurman Ave.
Columbus, OH 43206

Hope to see you all up there!

Go Hokies!


Justin Miller is an assistant softball coach for the Hokies. After graduating from Turner-Ashby High near Harrisonburg, he went on to a be a stand-out baseball player for the Buckeyes. He graduated from OSU in 2009 with a degree in sociology.

Cline out again for Hokies

Virginia Tech released its injury report Thursday, and tight end Kalvin Cline is out for the second straight game because of a knee injury.

Cline, a sophomore from Boca Raton, Florida, started seven games a year ago and led Tech’s tight ends with 26 catches for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Those 26 catches are tied for the second-most ever by a Tech tight end in a season under head coach Frank Beamer.

In early August, Cline re-aggravated a left knee injury that he suffered in the Sun Bowl loss to UCLA, and hasn’t quite gotten back to full speed.

As an option, Cline could take this season as a redshirt season since he played last season as a true freshman. Current starting tight end Ryan Malleck did this last season after he played as a true freshman in 2011 and then needed shoulder surgery last August that caused him to miss last season.

Malleck and redshirt freshman Bucky Hodges will handle most of the tight end duties against Ohio State. The two combined for nine catches against William & Mary - six by Hodges, who caught his first collegiate touchdown pass in the Hokies' 34-9 win.

Loeffler returning to familiar haunt

If Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, his assistant coaches and his players need insight on playing in front of 104,944 fans at Ohio Stadium, they only need to stop by offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler’s office.

Loeffler has plenty of knowledge on Ohio State. He coached for two years under Ohio State coach Urban Meyer when Meyer was at Florida, so there is some schematic familiarity. But Loeffler also was a player at Michigan and saw the Buckeyes several times as a player and as a graduate assistant coach there. He coached against them as well when he served as Michigan’s quarterback coach.

In fact, Loeffler has played against or coached against Ohio State on, by our count, 13 occasions.

“Ohio State is a great program,” Loeffler told the media Wednesday. “We’ve got a ton of respect for them. I’ve had the great opportunity to play them for … I think this is the 15th or 16th [actually 14th] go-around. It’s an awesome place, and the place where I’m from [Michigan] is an awesome place. That rivalry was unbelievable to be a part of. It’s awesome.”

Loeffler’s has been a part of some big wins over Ohio State. His senior season, the backup quarterback was part of a team that won 13-9 at Ohio State. The 1997 Michigan team that won the national championship beat the Buckeyes 20-14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Saturday’s matchup will mark Loeffler’s seventh visit to Ohio Stadium, but his first outside of his University of Michigan ties. He said one of the Hokies’ keys to victory would be handling the atmosphere.

That certainly makes sense. A week ago, the Hokies had 32 players on the dress squad who had never played a game at Tech. They also played 10 true freshmen. Keeping such a young group poised remains paramount.

“You’re going to walk into an environment where you can’t hear anything, so communication is crucial,” Loeffler said. “Our guys will play really hard. You’ve got to be into the groove of not being able to hear. It’s a place where, if you’re not careful, you feel like you’re on an island by yourself because you can’t communicate.

“It’s one of the loudest places. It’s electric. It’s in the top five, without a doubt, that I’ve been in.”

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