Buckeyes are seeking payback vs. Hokies

Associated Press
J.T. Barrett threw three interceptions during last season's loss to Virginia Tech.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer says he meant no disrespect to Virginia Tech when he blamed the Buckeyes’ stunning home loss to the Hokies last season on his team’s “lack of preparation.”

That doesn’t figure to be a problem tonight.

The Buckeyes, the first unanimous preseason No. 1 team in college football, get a chance to exact revenge in what promises to be a raucous Blacksburg, Virginia.

Ohio State won 13 in a row, and the national championship, after that 35-21 loss a year ago. While Meyer and most of his players downplay revenge as a motivator, quarterback J.T. Barrett has a photo of Lane Stadium as the background on his phone to remind him of what happened in 2014.

Barrett threw three interceptions in the loss, including one that Donovan Riley returned 63 yards for a touchdown with 46 seconds to go, making the Hokies the first nonconference opponent in 65 games to win at Ohio Stadium.

Barrett is not alone in admitting the loss still stings.

“They came into our house and embarrassed us,” said senior tight end Nick Vannett, who figures to loom large in the Buckeyes’ passing game because of suspensions and injuries to four receivers.

“We’re out for revenge and we’re going to do the same thing to them.”

The Hokies have played the No. 1 team eight times in their history, and have lost all eight, seven by double figures.

“I don’t know that there’s every been a No. 1 team in the country that’s as far No. 1 as this crowd is,” coach Frank Beamer said this week. “Real challenge to the program. Real challenge to what we’re all about here at Virginia Tech. I think our players look forward to the challenge, but what an undertaking this is.”