Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Big Ten Heisman watch: Week 10
By Brian Bennett
Braxton Miller is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. How do we know this? Because even his head coach is now saying so.
"Do I believe he's a Heisman candidate?" Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Monday. "I do. I didn't say that before. But I do believe Braxton is a Heisman candidate. He has to play much better. However, just from sheer production of a team that's 9-0, it puts him in that category, and that's without knowing all the other candidates."
Glad you're finally on board with the rest of us, Urb.
Seriously, though, Miller has been a candidate most of the year for carrying the Buckeyes' offense, and though his stats weren't glittering against Penn State (7-for-19 passing, 143 yards, a touchdown and an interception; 25 carries for 134 yard and two scores), he once again made the plays when Ohio State needed him. His 1-yard touchdown run through traffic was flat-out ridiculous. And when the Nittany Lions were trying to mount a late comeback, he threw a perfect pass to Jake Stoneburner for a 72-yard touchdown. Game. Over.
Has any player in the country created more winning moments and more jaw-dropping highlights on a consistent basis than Miller? We think not.
Kansas State's Collin Klein has been tabbed as the Heisman leader, at least on the offensive side, and with good reason. But we'll do this again to make a point:
Klein: 2,264 total yards (1,630 passing, 634 rushing) and 28 total touchdowns
Miller: 2,620 total yards (1,527 passing, 1,093 rushing) and 24 total touchdowns
Klein has played one fewer game, has a much better completion percentage and has thrown fewer interceptions. But Big 12 defenses are also a lot weaker than their Big Ten counterparts.
So while Klein deserves all his accolades, Miller is right there in the conversation. If he can keep it going for three more games, he should make it to New York City, at least.
My ESPN.com Heisman Watch ballot for Week 10:
2. Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o
3. Oregon RB Kenjon Barner
5. Alabama QB AJ McCarron