BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) It was the injury Virginia Tech could least afford, and when the news that quarterback Michael Brewer was lost for four to eight weeks because of a broken collarbone, offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler needed to collect himself.
“I put that kid through hell, and he played his tail off today,” Loeffler said of the senior, who transferred to Virginia Tech from Texas Tech before last season. “I said this to our team: `You can sit, you can feel sorry for yourself, you can do this.’ We’re going to rally around (Brenden) Motley.”
Brewer was injured when a 290-pound lineman hit and landed on him as he let go of a pass, and Motley struggled to get anything going until it was too late in the Hokies’ 42-24 loss to No. 1 Ohio State on Monday night.
The Hokies had just fallen behind 21-17, but had driven into Ohio State territory when Brewer got hurt.
The opportunity to feel sorry for themselves didn’t last long in Loeffler’s mind.
“We had a misfortunate thing occur to us today, but no one cares,” he said. “No one cares out there that Michael Brewer put in great time and he got hurt, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to rally around Motley, we’re going to develop a guy behind him in our room … and we’re going to find a way to win.”
Brewer was 11 of 16 for 156 yards with two touchdowns. Motley, more of a dual-threat quarterback, was 4 of 9 for 36 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also ran the ball seven times for 17 yards.
The Hokies wish they had a guy like Braxton Miller waiting in the wings.
Miller scored two touchdowns, including an electrifying 53-yard run, in his first game at wide receiver. The two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year, who missed last year after injuring his right throwing shoulder, was playing his first game at wide receiver. He made the position switch to ease a logjam at quarterback.
Cardale Jones, whose status as the starting quarterback wasn’t known until he came out for the first offensive series, threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Ohio State avenged a 35-21 home loss last season.
Miller 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 back.
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.