BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Braxton Miller looks very comfortable at wide receiver, and Cardale Jones picked up right where he left off last season.
No. 1 Ohio State is loaded.
Miller scored two touchdowns, including an electrifying 53-yard run, and the star-studded Buckeyes began their title defense with a 42-24 victory over Virginia Tech on Monday night.
Jones, whose status as the starter was not known until he came out for the first offensive series, threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score as Ohio State avenged a 35-21 home loss to Virginia Tech last season and earned its 14th straight win overall.
The Hokies, meanwhile, lost more than the game, with quarterback Michael Brewer shelved by a left shoulder injury in the third quarter. Brewer is key to Virginia Tech’s hope for a resurgent season.
Virginia Tech trailed 21-17 and had driven into Buckeyes territory when Brewer went down, but it had trouble moving the ball after Brenden Motley took over behind center.
And the Hokies just couldn’t stop Miller and Co. in the second half.
Miller, a two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year at quarterback, missed last season with a shoulder injury. With the talented Jones and J.T. Barrett at quarterback, Miller converted to wide receiver in the offseason and had an immediate impact in his new position.
First, he had a 54-yard touchdown reception to erase a 17-14 halftime deficit. Then he had a dazzling spin move on his long scoring run that lifted the Buckeyes to a 28-17 lead with 2:05 left in the third.
Jones added a 10-yard TD run in the fourth, and Barrett, who started for Ohio State until he was injured late in the season last year, threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Michael Thomas with 8:14 remaining.
The Buckeyes got off to a fast start, but the Hokies battled right back.
Curtis Samuel made a great adjustment to haul in a 24-yard touchdown reception from Jones, and Ezekiel Elliott had an 80-yard scoring run, all in the first 10 minutes.
Virginia Tech responded with 17 straight points. Sam Rogers took a short pass from Brewer 51 yards for the Hokies’ first touchdown. Virginia Tech then used an interception to set up a field goal and a fumbled punt to set up a go-ahead touchdown 15 seconds before halftime on Brewer’s second touchdown pass.
Motley finished the Hokies’ scoring with a late 17-yard pass to Isaiah Ford.