Braxton Miller to return for OSU at Illinois

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
12:45
PM ET
Ohio State is looking for any piece of good news these days, and the Buckeyes received some Monday afternoon.

Braxton Miller is listed as the team's starting quarterback on the depth chart for this week's game at No. 16 Illinois. A team spokesman tells ESPN.com that Miller will play against the Illini after leaving Saturday's loss to Nebraska with a sprained right ankle.

We'll see how Miller responds on the field in Champaign, but the fact he'll be back so soon is an encouraging sign.

The freshman made significant strides in the first two and a half quarters at Nebraska, rushing for 91 yards on 10 carries and completing 5 of 8 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Coordinator Jim Bollman put Miller in positions to succeed, and Miller used his athleticism to find gaps in Nebraska's defense.

In news that might not make Buckeyes fans quite as pleased, senior Joe Bauserman is listed as the backup to Miller on the depth chart for Illinois. Bauserman completed just 1 of 10 passes in relief of Miller at Nebraska as Ohio State's offense reverted to the poor form it had against Miami and Michigan State.

Expect Illinois defensive coordinator Vic Koenning to be aggressive against Miller, especially if the Buckeyes freshman is limited with his mobility. Illini defensive end Whitney Mercilus leads the Big Ten in sacks (8.5), and linebacker Jonathan Brown, an effective blitzer, returns to the lineup following a one-game suspension.

Still, Miller undoubtedly gives Ohio State the best chance to beat Illinois, even if he's not 100 percent.

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