Miller Silences Calls for Guiton
By Rob Ogden
Back-to-back Big Ten offensive player of the week honors for Kenny Guiton in Braxton Miller's absence left some fans clamoring for Guiton to be named the starter at quarterback.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Miller silenced those claims Saturday night with his four-touchdown performance in the Buckeyes' 31-24 win over Wisconsin.
The junior quarterback completed 17-of-25 passing attempts for 198 yards and the four scores. He also added 83 yards on the ground on 22 carries.
"I've been working really hard these last couple weeks because I've been hurt," Miller said. "Coach (Tom) Herman and coach (Urban) Meyer always talk about fundamentals. That's what I've been working on. That's how I get things going."
Many, including Meyer, said they expected Miller to be a little rusty at first, but he wasn't. The third-year starter came out of the gate fast, and quickly put six points on the scoreboard on the team's first offensive series.
In fact, the opening quarter was Miller's most productive of the game, as he completed 6-of-7 passing attempts and threw two touchdowns.
Miller said he didn't expect to need any adjustment time in his first game back since spraining his knee on Sept. 7.
"Not at all. I worked pretty hard - I was there all day," he said. "I felt like I had a job without getting paid. I was getting in there before the coaches."
Photo by Dan Harker
Miller threw an errant pass that should have been intercepted late in the second quarter, but made up for it a play later when he threw a 40-yard strike to Corey Brown in the end zone.
"It slipped out of my hands," Miller said. "I can't make excuses. It's on me. I told coach, 'Let's throw it again,' and I made up for it the next throw."
Miller admitted to at first being hesitant to test his knee running the ball, but got into a groove as the game went on. His performance lacked any Heisman-worthy runs that we're used to seeing from him, but he showed he's still quick on his feet and can still make defenders miss.
Miller's rushing ability is one of the biggest aspects of his game that was missed while he was sidelined.
Meyer has said on multiple occasions since the Buckeyes' win at Cal that he would like to keep Guiton involved in the offense even when Miller returned to health. He even hinted that he could use them on the field at once, or draw up plays designed to Guiton's strengths.
Neither of those things happened Saturday, and after the game, Meyer said there was never a doubt that Miller would get the start as long as he was healthy enough to do so.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"I think he played very well," Meyer said. "Braxton had a heck of a day."
"I'd like to get Kenny in the game. Just in the moment it didn't happen," he added. "But when Braxton - when I saw on Thursday what I saw - then there was no doubt he was going to be our starter."
Perhaps an even biggest tests awaits Miller and the Buckeyes Saturday in Evanston, Ill. when the Buckeyes square off with unbeaten Northwestern.
"We gotta keep moving forward and keep everybody locked in on the target," Meyer said. "And it's going to be a tough target again next week."
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