The wait for Ohio State’s season opener must have seemed endless for Buckeye fans. It stretched for eight months from the national championship game in January through the first week of September and then four days past when some teams started the college football season Thursday.
The top-ranked Buckeyes opened the season Monday night at Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech, and they won’t have to wait long for the second game. They host Hawaii at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
That’s good for the four players Ohio State suspended for the first game — defensive end Joey Bosa, hybrid backs Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson and wide receiver Corey Smith — but a tough turnaround for everyone else.
“It’s awful. It’s not good,” coach Urban Meyer said. “But it’s good we’re the prime-time game and all the exposure and all that.”
Hawaii opened the season with a 28-20 victory at home against Colorado. Quarterback Max Witek completed 19 of 38 passes for 202 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
T-shirt love: Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Thomas posed for photos wearing “Free Bosa” T-shirts in support of their suspended teammate. The photos were posted to Twitter.
Pregame scene: Ohio State fans lined up outside Lane Stadium to greet the team on its arrival. Some fans had to stand behind bushes and reach their hands across to the players as they walked down a tunnel to the locker room.
Quarterback Cardale Jones, wearing sunglasses, slapped hands with a number of fans as he navigated the gauntlet.
Bus trouble: Ohio State’s band left for Blacksburg on Monday morning, and one of the buses broke down in West Virginia.
“One way or another, we’ll make it to Virginia Tech!” the band wrote on its official Twitter account.
Easier preparation: Ohio State didn’t get much time to prepare for Virginia Tech last season because the Buckeyes focused all of their preseason game planning on Navy. The Buckeyes lost 35-21 to the Hokies a week after beating Navy 34-17 in Baltimore.
This season, the Buckeyes turned all their attention to the Hokies. Meyer entered the game with a 40-3 record when he has more than one week to prepare for an opponent. That mark includes season openers.
“It’s huge,” said left tackle Taylor Decker, a Butler HIgh School graduate, in the last week of practice. “We’ve had all of camp. Navy’s just a difficult team to prepare for. A lot of teams lose the week after they play Navy. We’re going to be fresh. We’ve had a ton of time to prepare. When we have plenty of time to prepare, we’re pretty good.”
Opening away: This was the second straight season the Buckeyes played away from home in their opener. They will play at Ohio Stadium in their first game next season, hosting Bowling Green on Sept. 3.