Brewer's injury ends Hokies' upset bid: 5 takeaways


Brewer's injury ends Hokies' upset bid: 5 takeaways

Things looked hopeful at halftime for Virginia Tech, but quickly spiraled in favor of Ohio State as they ran away with the 42-24 victory. Here are the five big takeaways from the Hokies' opening loss:

Winning the first half: This game looked like it was going to be over before it really began as Ohio State jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The Buckeyes scored on their first two possessions and took the ball down to Virginia Tech's 26 before the defense finally got their first stop. Ohio State missed the field goal and the Hokies quickly turned the tables.

The previously anemic offense finally found its legs as Virginia Tech went 101 yards in two drives for 10 points. A muffed punt by Ezekial Elliott late in the first half led to another touchdown for the Hokies who found themselves up 17-14 at the end of the half.

The Hokies' first-half lead felt inexplicable given how the game had started and suddenly it looked like another upset was possible.

Down goes Brewer: Everything changed early in the third quarter when Ohio State's Adolphus Washington planted Brewer with a vicious shot into the ground leaving the Hokies' quarterback in obvious pain. It would later be revealed that Brewer had suffered a broken collar bone.

Without their starter, the limited success the offense had enjoyed evaporated allowing Ohio State to take back control. The question that will keep Virginia Tech fans up at night is what could have happened had Brewer not gotten injured?

Brewer took a lot of criticism at the end of last season for his inconsistent play, but he looked much improved in the limited sample we saw in this game. He completed 11 of 16 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the country behind a still shaky offensive line.

Brenden Motley played admirably in relief, but Brewer made it clear in the first half that this is still his team.

RELATED: Hall, Jarrett head to Blacksburg for Ohio State game

One step forward, one step back on offense: After a dreadful year last season, the offense showed signs of life in the first half when offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler finally decided to open up his bag of tricks.

Let's face it, the Hokies may have talent at the skill positions, but this offense is not good enough to beat teams if they know what's coming. Even if you know Alabama is going to run up the middle, you can't stop it. If thedefense know what's coming from the Hokies, it's tough to move the ball.

After getting shutdown on two conservative offensive drives, the Hokies' play calling suddenly became varied and unpredictable. Motley actually saw his first action in this game before Brewer was injured as he was inserted as a change-of-pace option for the offense. The varied play calling left the Buckeye defense off balanced allowing Brewer to eventually strike with a pass to fullback Sam Rogers on a wheel route for the 51-yard touchdown.

The offense instantly became more limited when Brewer went down as Motley does not pose nearly the passing threat and Virginia Tech became much more one-dimensional and predictable again. With Brewer, Virginia Tech managed 233 yards and 17 points. Without him, the Hokies had only 92 yards, and one garbage-time touchdown.

Quarterback carousel: One of the national story lines for this game was who would start for Ohio State at quarterback. Most believed it would be J.T. Barrett, but instead it was Cardale Jones who led the Buckeyes for much of the game. In fact, Barrett did not get onto the field until late in the game for mop-up duty when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Part of me wonders if this has to do with the opponent not just because Virginia Tech was the only defense that seemed to rattle Barrett last season, but because of Jones' size.

The Hokies got plenty of pressure on the Buckeyes' quarterback, but rather than crushing the 6-2, 225-pound Barret, they instead had to find a way to bring down the 6-5, 250-pound Jones. There were many instances in which defenders simply bounced off of Jones as he rumbled his way around the field.

It would not be a stretch to believe Urban Meyer was trying to protect Barrett in his first game back after suffering a broken ankle last season. Don't be surprised if you see Barrett get a lot more playing time as the season progresses.

Also, let's not forget about Braxton Miller, the former quarterback turned H-back. The position switch certainly seems to have been a good one as in his first game Miller managed 140 total yards and two touchdowns. He also showed off a ridiculous spin move that looked straight out of a video game.

As good as advertised? The strength of this Virginia Tech team, as it has been for years, was thought to be its defense. Ohio State managed a whopping 572 yards and 42 points against Bud Foster's group.

To be fair, the defense threw in the towel late in the game and the Buckeyes wracked up some yards in garbage time, but Ohio State clearly got the better of Foster a year removed from when Foster's defense embarrassed them in the Horseshoe.

The biggest issues were in the secondary. Kendall Fuller, one of the best cornerbacks in the country, was blown out of the water by a subtle juke from Michael Thomas that left him wide-open in the end zone four the fourth-quarter touchdown. The series before that, Fuller was flagged for pass interference when he was against beat and simply threw his arms up and ran into the receiver without turning his head around to look for the ball.

Nickle cornerback Greg Stroman was also victimized early and often by Jones. The Buckeyes clearly thought they had a favorable matchup and went after Stroman seemingly every time he was left one-on-one with a receiver.

The secondary is something the defense will have to improve on over the season, especially as it looks like Brewer's injury will force the Hokies to lean on their defense yet again.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Freshman QB dominates UVa: 5 takeaways

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State


Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.


Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year


After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.


Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."