Monday, October 28, 2013
Player of the week: Big Ten
By Josh Moyer
Beneath a backdrop of scarlet shirts Saturday night, Braxton Miller led the way in one of the most dominant performances in Ohio State history.
It was the first time the Buckeyes' dual-threat quarterback ran for multiple touchdowns and passed for multiple touchdowns in a game. It was the first time he threw for more than 250 yards. And it was the most points (63) surrendered by Penn State since 1899, back when Walter Camp first published his All-American football team.
Braxton Miller threw for three touchdowns and ran for two against Penn State.
"I just love where Braxton's at right now," Urban Meyer said. "I love the fact he's acting like a quarterback. I'm not disrespecting Braxton. You guys know I love that guy. But I felt like he was an athlete playing quarterback a year ago. Feel like he's a quarterback that's a really good athlete now."
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien offered the quarterback high praise in the days leading up to the game, calling him "one of the top five players in the country." And the Ohio native certainly seemed to live up to that billing in front of a national TV audience Saturday.
He played about two-and-a-half quarters and still came away with 252 passing yards, 68 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. He left Penn State defenders shaking their heads and Penn State fans at a loss. Overall, it was the Buckeyes' third-highest yardage total (686) in school history -- and highest in Big Ten play. It was the most yards ever surrendered by the Nittany Lions.
Miller walked into the news conference after the game with a red cap and shoulder pads, despite taking about the last hour off. There was no sweat, barely a smile, and -- just like on the field -- no hesitation.
Was that the most confident, comfortable you felt in your career?
"Yes," Miller said.
Miller led Ohio State to six touchdowns on his team's first seven drives. He avoided pressure, was sacked just once and ended up making up for it with a 22-yard pass on third-and-12. And, with 55 seconds left in the first half, he guided the Buckeyes downfield on an 84-yard touchdown drive that demoralized the Penn State defense.
Miller has played in 28 career games now, and this was his best. It was Ohio State's best-ever performance against Penn State. It was an exclamation for voters to consider bumping Ohio State up a bit on their ballots.
And that's why it's an easy decision this time: Miller is the player of the week.