Braxton Miller's Record-Chasing Season
By Tony Gerdeman
Photo by Jim Davidson
Once Braxton Miller signed with Ohio State, expectations were placed upon him that would be difficult for any player to live up to. Those expectations ratcheted up even more when Urban Meyer was hired.
It wasn't difficult to see why those expectations existed. Urban Meyer called Miller the most dynamic player he has ever coached at quarterback, and the proof has been displayed on the field each of the last ten Saturdays.
This season, as only a sophomore, Miller has already placed his name in the Ohio State record books, and if he stays for all four years, it's hard to imagine a meaningful career passing record that he won't hold at OSU.
So with that in mind, let's take a look at where Miller currently is in regards to a few school records, and where he could be heading.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Miller's 1,166 yards rushing has already tied Ron Springs for the 21st-highest single-season rushing total in school history. If he keeps his current pace of 116.6 yards rushing per game, he would finish the season with 1,399 yards rushing, which would be the 10th-highest total in school history. However, to clinch a spot in the top 10, he only needs to average 89.5 yards rushing per game over the Buckeyes' final two games.
His 85.5 yards rushing per game throughout his career is currently sixth in school history behind Archie Griffin (121.5), Jim Otis (94.1), Chris Wells (93.9), Robert Smith (88.4), and Keith Byars (86.5). Maurice Clarett's 112.5 yards rushing per game in 2002 did not qualify him for OSU's record books because he did not play in enough games during his career.
Miller currently has nine 100-yard rushing games in his career. One more will tie him with Michael Wiley for ninth in career 100-yard rushing games with 10. Amazingly, even with 10 100-yard rushing games, Miller would still find himself 24 games behind Archie Griffin.
If Miller keeps up his current rushing pace, he will finish the season 20th on OSU's career all-time rushing list. He would also become the only player to reach that milestone in just two seasons.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The passing record books at Ohio State aren't exactly packed with the same kind of numbers as the rushing portion of the record book. In fact, there have only been 21 300-yard passing games in Ohio State's 123 years of football. That's an average of one every six years. Only two quarterbacks have ever thrown for 3,000 yards in a season, those being Bobby Hoying for 3,269 yards in 1995, and Joe Germaine for 3,330 in 1998.
Miller is currently on pace to throw for 2,103 yards and 17 touchdowns. The 2,103 yards would be the 13th-highest total in school history. However, if he can push his season total to 2,133 yards, he would find himself with the 10th-highest passing total in school history.
In other words, Braxton Miller has a legitimate chance to have one of Ohio State's top ten passing seasons and top ten rushing seasons all in the same year.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Miller has already amassed 2,919 yards of total offense this season, which is good for the third-highest single-season total in Ohio State history. Bobby Hoying holds the current record of 3,290 yards in 1995, and at Miller's current pace he will shatter that with 3,503 yards of total offense.
In the 2010 vacated season, Terrelle Pryor finished with 3,526 yards in 13 games. Miller obviously won't have that 13th game this season.
In order to set Ohio State's season total offense record, Miller would only need to average 186 total yards over his final two
Miller's current average of 291.9 yards of total offense per game is on pace to better Joe Germaine's 270.6 yards per game in 1998, which is the best in school history.
The school record for most games in a season with at least 200 yards of total offense is 11, held by Hoying in 1995 (and tied by Pryor in 2010). Miller is currently at nine, which is already third in school history.
Miller's career average of 217.9 yards of total offense per game dwarfs the OSU record books. Pryor is currently first with a 185.2-yard average in 2008 and 2009, and Art Schlichter's 184.4 yards per game from 1978-1981 is third.
Even if Miller plays in Ohio State's final two games and fails to record a single yard, he will set the all-time career record for total offense per game with 199.7 yards per game. In fact, for Miller to not break the record this year, Wisconsin and Michigan would need to hold him to an average of negative 175.5 yards per game.
Miller has also tied the school record for number of games with at least 300 yards of total offense in a career (6), as well as a single season (5), both times tying Germaine.
Miller's current total of 4,793 yards of total offense already puts him 12th on the career list. He is on pace to finish the season ninth on the list, just a couple of hundred yards behind Archie Griffin. At his current pace, he would reach Schlichter's school record of 8,850 yards sometime next November.
Miller has rushed for 13 touchdowns and thrown for 14 more, making him responsible for 27 touchdowns this season. The school single-season record is 31, held by Troy Smith (2005) and Hoying (1995). Miller is on pace for 32.
Miller is already seventh on the career list for touchdowns responsible for, with 47. He passed Eddie George (44) last week. Up next is Keith Byars' 51.
Much like the total offense numbers above, Miller is on pace to break Schlichter's school record of 85 touchdowns responsible for sometime next November.
Braxton Miller has only played in 22 games as a Buckeye, and yet he already litters the record book like a Smith in a phone book.
Obviously, in a football program with historically conservative offenses, it's not going to be too difficult to move your way into the record books if you get three or four years with which to build your statistical profile.
But Miller is doing this in just two years, and the amazing thing is that he has done it having to learn two different offenses, one of which wasn't necessarily tailored to showcasing a quarterback's abilities.
Miller played 12 games last season, and will only be allowed 12 this season. Imagine his numbers next season when he plays in 14 games, and the offense is even more wide open. And imagine his numbers in that same offense as a senior with 14 more games under his belt.
Though if there is a senior season for Miller, he will only need about 10 games to set the Big Ten's career mark for total offense, which is currently held by Drew Brees (12,692).
Troy Smith said last week that he believes Braxton Miller will leave Ohio State as the best quarterback in school history. Barring anything unforeseen, he will certainly leave it as its most productive.
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