On September 16, 1978, Penn State went to Columbus and beat Ohio State 19-0 in the Buckeyes’ home opener. No one had been able to beat OSU in their home opener since then…until last night, when the Hokies waltzed into the Horseshoe and left with an impressive 35-21 win.
The cool thing about last night’s game is that we all knew the exact recipe for beating the Buckeyes. We had to shut down the running game, force their quarterback to beat us through the air, and score touchdowns when we got into the redzone. We all figured Bud Foster would blitz the heck out of JT Barrett and put his corners on an island. He did exactly that.
We all knew what had to be done, but what we didn’t know is whether or not Tech had the horses to pull it off. Ohio State is loaded with 4-star and 5-star players, and even with an inexperienced offensive line and a r-freshman quarterback, they had the overall talent edge. However, with the notable exception of the interior OL vs. the OSU defensive line, the Hokies were the more physical team last night, I thought. I saw lots of Buckeyes getting put on their butts, from a Wayne Ward style block by Kyshoen Jarrett on the punt return, to Cam Phillips planting a linebacker into the turf on a crackback block. Tech was better. Period. They out-toughed and out-executed the Buckeyes in all phases.
The Tech defense has played well in so many games like this in the past, but the Hokies lost because their offense and special teams couldn’t keep pace. That wasn’t the case last night, as Tech outplayed Ohio State in all three phases. That’s what I’m most pleased about. Well, that and Frank Beamer getting such a huge win.
The most impressive thing about last night’s win was the fact that the Hokies responded after OSU put up 14 straight points to tie the game at 21. The Tech offense calmly went right down the field and scored to retake the lead, and the defense tightened up and dominated for the remainder of the game. It was a team win in every sense of the phrase, and that includes special teams, which we’ll get to later.
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