Braxton’s Heroics Earn Him Big Ten Freshman of the Week
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller’s numbers were not eye-popping in Saturday night’s 33-29 win over Wisconsin.
Photo by Jim Davidson
His performance was.
The freshman quarterback stepped calmly into the spotlight at Ohio Stadium, leading the Buckeyes back from a devastating late touchdown to keep them alive in the hunt for the Big Ten championship.
“We know he can throw it. We know he can do a lot of different things. It's just understanding what we want him to do and having the confidence and doing it,” Ohio State Head Coach Luke Fickell said.
“And momentum is a big part of it. Confidence and momentum and belief is a big part of it. I think we'll still see him continue to grow and have a lot of abilities to throw it as well.”
In the best game of his young collegiate career, Miller tallied a career-high total offense day of 198 yards. He rushed for a career-high 99 yards and passed for 89 more on 7-for-12 passing.
The Huber Heights Wayne product scored the first two rushing touchdowns of his career against the Badgers, including a 1-yard scamper on fourth and goal. Miller made Wisconsin’s Brendan Kelly look silly as he side-stepped the defensive end on his way in for the score.
He also scored on a 44-yard touchdown sprint down the left sideline in the fourth quarter to extend Ohio State’s lead to 26-14 with 4:39 to play in the game.
It was a speed option to the left, but Miller never looked at tailback Boom Herron. Enough defenders did, and Miller tucked the ball and took off. He got key blocks at the point of attack from Mike Adams, Andrew Norwell and Jake Stoneburner.
Miller did the rest himself.
“He was making plays with his legs, and when we needed him to do it,” center Michael Brewster said.
“He made something happen, that’s what he does best.”
As it turns out, that wasn’t even the biggest play of the night. With a minute left on the clock, Miller stepped onto the field needing at least a field goal to send the game to overtime.
To no one’s surprise, he went for the win.
Facing pressure up the middle on first-and-10 at the Wisconsin 40, Miller scrambled outside to his right. Just before crossing the line of scrimmage, he sailed the ball off one foot to a wide-open Devin Smith in the end zone for the game-winning score.
“I just had to get out of the pocket and make something happen,” Miller said.
“It’s big for the team. We work at this all the time. We just gotta keep working hard.”
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