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Aug. 31, 2015

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#1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech
Monday, Sept. 7, 2015, 8 p.m. ET
Lane Stadium (66,233), Blacksburg, Va.

TV: ESPN
Chris Fowler (Play-by-Play)
Kirk Herbstreit (Analyst)
Heather Cox (Sideline)

Radio: WBNS FM (97.1 The Fan)
The Urban Meyer pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Paul Keels will call the action with former Buckeye Jim Lachey and Marty Bannister on the sidelines. The game can also be heard nationally on Westwood One Sports and Sirius-XM channels 84 with Scott Graham and Derek Rackley on the call.

FIRST AND 10

  • The Buckeyes are opening on the road (on an opponent’s home field) for the first time since the 1998 opener at West Virginia (W, 34-17).
  • Ohio State enters the game having won 13 in a row overall, the longest active streak in the nation.
  • Ohio State also has won 13 consecutive road games, the longest active streak in the nation. Its last road defeat came on Nov. 26, 2011 at Michigan.
  • Ohio State is 34-2 in its last 36 season-openers. Both of those 0-1 starts took place in the Kickoff Classic at the old Giants Stadium – 1999 to Miami, Fla., and 1986 to Alabama.
  • Ohio State is the first school to be voted unanimous No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press poll with all 61 first-place votes.
  • Urban Meyer enters enters the 2015 season with the highest winning percentage (.845) among active coaches with at least 10 years head coaching experience.
  • Meyer is 50-5 in his career in games played in August and September.
  • Meyer is 13-0 in season openers as a head coach.
  • Ohio State returns 16 starters from last season – seven on each side of the ball and two specialists.
  • Ohio State has thrown a TD pass in 23 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in school history, trailing only a 24-game streak of TD passes by 1994-96 teams.

SETTING THE STAGE
No. 1 Ohio State will take on Virginia Tech in the final game of College Football’s opening weekend on Labor Day evening at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va. The two teams are meeting for the second consecutive season as the Hokies won in Columbus last season, 35-21.

A GLANCE AT THE BUCKEYES
The defending national champions return 45 letterwinners from last year’s team, including 16 starters: seven on offense, seven on defense and two specialists. Ohio State returns 88 percent of its offensive production after returning only 12 percent last season from the 2013 team. Back are four starting offensive linemen with 75 career starts between them in senior Taylor Decker, junior Pat Elflein, senior Jacoby Boren and sophomore Billy Price. Expected to step into the starting role at right tackle will be fifth-year senior Chase Farris. Also returning are QBs J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones. Barrett was 11-1 as a starter last season while winning Big Ten quarterback and freshman of the year honors before going down with an injury in week 12 vs. Michigan. Jones stepped in for the injured Barrett and led Ohio State to three postseason wins vs. Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon while winning Big Ten championship game MVP honors. Returning in the backfield is junior RB Ezekiel Elliott who rushed for 696 yards and eight TDs in the three postseason games while winning MVP honors of both the Sugar Bowl and the national championship game. Junior WR Michael Thomas is back after leading the Buckeyes in catches last season with 54 catches for 799 yards and 9 TDs. Returning at H-Back will be sophomore Jalin Marshall and junior Dontre Wilson along with returning veteran Braxton Miller who is making the switch from QB after a shoulder injury forced him to miss all of 2014.

Defensively, Ohio State returns junior All-American DE Joey Bosa, who was named the Big Ten’s defensive player and lineman of the year. He returns alongside senior DL Adolphus Washington. At linebacker, Ohio State returns sophomore Darron Lee, the Sugar Bowl defensive MVP, and senior Joshua Perry to play alongside sophomore Raekwon McMillan. Three starters return in an experienced secondary in sophomore CB Eli Apple and junior safties Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell. Expected to start at the other corner opposite Apple is sophomore Gareon Conley. And back to anchor the kicking game are kicker Sean Nuernberger and punter Cameron Johnston.

SIX CHOSEN TO CAPTAIN THE 2015 BUCKEYES
Six Buckeyes have been selected by vote of their teammates to serve as captains for the 2015 Ohio State football team: senior center Jacoby Boren, senior left tackle Taylor Decker, fifth-year graduate QB/H-Back Braxton Miller, senior linebacker Joshua Perry, fourth-year graduate Tyvis Powell and third year junior J.T. Barrett. Team members voted for captains and head coach Urban Meyer introduced them to the team after practice on Aug. 28. 

Miller becomes just the ninth player in Ohio State history to be named a two-time team captain. He also served as a 2014 captain and was one of eight game captains in 2013.

FIRST UNANIMOUS AP PRESEASON NO. 1
The Associated Press pollsters selected Ohio State as the unanimous No. 1 with all 61 first-place votes going to the Buckeyes, marking the first time since the preseason poll started in 1950 it has ever had a unanimous preseason No. 1 team.

Ohio State has been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll more than any school in the nation; 839 times and nearly 50 weeks more than the team with the second-most appearances. Ohio State is ranked No. 1 by the AP for the 96th time. Only two schools, Oklahoma (101) and Notre Dame (98) have been the AP’s No. 1 team more weeks than Ohio State.

MEYER 13-0 IN SEASON OPENERS
Head coach Urban Meyer is 13-0 all-time in his head coaching career in season openers with an average margin of victory of 29.3 points. Last season the Buckeyes defeated Navy in the opener, 34-17, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

MOST WINS IN A SEASON (Since 1937)
14 – Ohio State, 2014
14 – Florida State, 2013
14 – Auburn, 2010
14 – Boise State, 2009
14 – Alabama, 2009
14 – Ohio State, 2002
14 – BYU, 1996

OHIO STATE AT NIGHT
Ohio State is officially 46-23 in night games (those starting after 5 p.m. local time), including records of 34-19 in road (22-10) or neutral field (12-9) night games. Last season Ohio State played in a schoolrecord eight night games.

40-3 WITH MORE THAN A WEEK TO PREPARE
Coach Urban Meyer is 40-3 in games in which he has more than one week to prepare for an opponent. This figure includes season openers, games after an “off” week and post-season games.

MEYER: WINNINGEST ACTIVE COACH
Urban Meyer enters the 2015 season – his 14th as a collegiate head coach – with the highest winning percentage among active coaches with at least 10 years head coaching experience: .845. His percentage is fourth-best all-time among head coaches at FBS institutions, trailing only Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy and George Woodruff.

WINNINGEST ACTIVE COACHES
Minimum 10 years as head coach at FBS institution

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State .845 | 142-26
2. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma .792 | 168-44
3. Nick Saban, Alabama .749 | 177-59-1
4. Gary Patterson, TCU .746 | 132-45
5. Mark Richt, Georgia .739 | 136-48
6. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame .737 | 213-75-2
7. Bobby Petrino, Louisville .730 | 92-34
8. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina .725 | 226-85-2
9. Les Miles, LSU .724 | 131-50
10. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU .697 | 90-39

WINNINGEST COACHES ALL-TIME
Minimum 10 years as head coach at FBS institution

1. Knute Rockne, Notre Dame .881 | 105-12-5
2. Frank Leahy, Notre Dame .864 | 107-13-9
3. George Woodruff, Penn .846 | 142-25-2
4. Urban Meyer, Ohio State .845 | 142-26
5. Barry Switzer, Oklahoma .837 | 157-29-4
6. Tom Osborne, Nebraska .836 | 255-49-3
7. Fielding Yost, Michigan .833 | 198-35-12
8. Percy Haughton, Harvard .832 | 96-17-6
9. Bob Neyland, Tennessee .829 | 173-31-12
10. Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma .826 | 145-29-4

STREAKING: 13-CONSECUTIVE WINS
Ohio State is riding the nation’s longest winning streak: 13 consecutive games dating to last season. The streak is the 16th of at least 10 games in Ohio State’s history.

Ohio State Winning Streaks (Buster)
24 – 2012-13 (vs. Michigan State, 34-24)
22 – 1967-69 (at Michigan, 24-12)
19 – 2005-06 (vs. Florida, 41-14)
19 – 2002-03 (at Wisconsin, 17-10)
17 – 1915-17 (tied Auburn, 0-0)
14 – 1899-00 (Ohio Medical, 11-6)
13 – 2014 (current)
13 – 1957-58 (tied at Wisconsin, 7-7)
12 – 1944-45 (Purdue, 35-13)
11 – 1995 (at Michigan, 31-23)
11 – 1979 (vs. USC, 17-16)
11 – 1975 (vs. UCLA, 23-10)
11 – 1954-55 (at Stanford, 6-0)
10 – 2010 (Illinois, 28-21)
10 – 1996 (Michigan, 13-9)
10 – 1934-35 (Notre Dame, 18-13)

THREE 20-GAME WIN STREAKS FOR MEYER
In 2013 Urban Meyer became the first head coach at the highest level of the collegiate coaching ranks (major college, Division I, FBS, etc.) to have three winning streaks of at least 20 games. A total of 41 head coaches at this level have lead a team to a winning streak of at least 20 games. Nine of those coaches have had two winning streaks of at least 20 wins. Meyer is the first to add a third such winning streak to his name.

Multiple 20-Game Win Streak Coaches
Urban Meyer
24 – Florida (2010) & Ohio State (2012-13)
22 – Florida (2008-09)
20 – Utah (2003-04) & Florida (2005)
Walter Camp
28 – Yale (1888-89)
27 – Yale (1890-92)
Robert Neyland
22 – Tennessee (1937-39)
20 – Tennessee (1950-51)
Tom Osborne
26 – Nebraska (1994-96)
22 – Nebraska (1982-83)
Joe Paterno
23 – Penn State (1968-69)
20 – Penn State (1993-95)
Barry Switzer
28 – Oklahoma (1973-75)
20 – Oklahoma (1986-87)
Bud Wilkinson
47 – Oklahoma (1953-57)
31 – Oklahoma (1948-50)
George Woodruff
34 – Pennsylvania (1894-96)
31 – Pennsylvania (1896-98)
Fielding Yost
29 – Michigan (1901-03)
26 – Michigan (1903-05)

AND ONLY ONE THREE-GAME LOSING STREAK
Urban Meyer has had just one losing streak reach three games in his 168-game head coaching career: in 2010 at Florida. He has had only four multi-game losing streaks in all, with all of them two-game streaks except for the 2010 trio while at Florida. The others: in 2002 at BG; 2007 at UF; and 2013 at OSU.

6TH DOUBLE DIGIT WIN STREAK
Urban Meyer’s teams have produced six winning streaks of at least 10 games. He has had a winning streak of at least 10 games at all four of his head coaching positions and each of his three Ohio State teams have had a season-long winning streak of at least 12 games.

Urban Meyer Overall Winning Streaks
25 – Florida (2010) & Ohio State (2012-13)
22 – Florida (2008 & 2009)
20 – Utah (2003 & 2004) & Florida (2005)
13 – Ohio State (2014-current)
11 – Florida (2006 and 2007)
11 – Bowling Green (2001 & 2002)

Meyer Single-Season Win Streaks
13 – Ohio State (2014)
12 – Ohio State (2013)
12 – Ohio State (2012)
12 – Florida (2009)
12 – Utah (2004)
11 – Ohio State (2014)
10 – Florida (2008)
8 – Bowling Green (2002)

14 WINS: TIED FOR MOST IN OHIO STATE HISTORY
Urban Meyer has not only led Ohio State to the most victories over a three-year span – 38 between 2012-14 – but his team’s 14 wins last season tied for the most in a single season with the 2002 team’s 14 wins on its way to the national championship that year.

Ohio State: Most Wins in a Season
14 – 2014 (Urban Meyer)
14 – 2002 (Jim Tressel)
12 – 2013 (Urban Meyer)
12 – 2012 (Urban Meyer)
12 – 2006 (Jim Tressel)

FOUR 13-WIN SEASONS FOR MEYER
Urban Meyer has four 13+ win seasons on his coaching resume: 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2014 (14 wins). He is the only major college coach since the NCAA began tracking statistics in 1937 to have four seasons of at least 13 wins.

Most Seasons 13 Wins (or more)
4 – Urban Meyer; 2006, 2008, 2009, 2014
3 – Nick Saban; 2003, 2009, 2012
2 – Chris Peterson; 2006, 2009
2 – Tom Osborne; 1994, 1997

ROAD WIN STREAK TOPS IN THE NCAA
Ohio State has won 13 consecutive games on the road (games on an opponents home field), the longest such streak in the nation. Florida State has won 12 consecutive road games with Missouri (10) next and followed by UCLA, which has seven consecutive road games.

SCOUTING VIRGINIA TECH
Virginia Tech, receiving votes in both major polls this week, is coming off a 7-6 season with a 3-5 mark in the ACC in 2014. They capped the season with a 33-17 win over Cincinnati in the Military Bowl. The Hokies return quarterback Michael Brewer, a Texas Tech transfer who passed for 2,692 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 INTs for the Hokies last season. Also back are receivers Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips, who combined for 96 receptions totaling 1,207 yards and nine TDs. Also back is TE Bucky Hodges who caught 45 passes for 526 yards and seven touchdowns as a redshirt freshman.

Defensively, the Hokies return four defensive linemen who have earned All-ACC recognition in their careers. Tackle Luther Maddy returns from a medical redshirt alongside Corey Marshall. Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem combined for 18.5 sacks and 33 tackles for a loss last year, the most productive D-line tandem in the ACC. Also back is All-American cornerback Kendall Fuller and linebacker Deon Clarke, the leading tackler last season with 74 stops, 11.5 TFL and five sacks.

Head coach Frank Beamer is in his 29th season at Virginia Tech with a record of 231-115-2 entering Monday. He has led the Hokies to 22 consecutive bowl appearances, four ACC titles, five ACC Coastal Division crowns, three BIG EAST Conference titles, six BCS appearances and a trip to the national championship game. Under his guidance, the Hokies have finished in the Top 20 in 16 of the past 22 seasons, including four top-10 finishes during the last 11 years.

OHIO STATE VS. THE ACC
Ohio State is 39-17-1 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference:

Boston College 3-0
Clemson 0-2
Duke 3-1
Florida State 0-3
Georgia Tech 0-0
Louisville 2-0
Miami (FL) 2-2
North Carolina 3-1
North Carolina State 2-0
Pittsburgh 19-5-1
Syracuse 4-2
Virginia 1-0
Virginia Tech 0-1
Wake Forest 0-0
Total 39-17-1