COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller was already in elite company even before he doubled down with his second Chicago Tribune Silver Football, an award given by the paper to the Big Ten’s best player. + EnlargeAP Photo/Jay LaPreteBraxton Miller improved his passing mechanics this season, but also struggled down the stretch.Now the Ohio State quarterback has to decide if he wants to accomplish something nobody else has ever done. Miller could put himself in a class all by himself by chasing the hardware for a third time, be he could find himself content with expanding the two-time winner’s club to four. The conversation about his future was already going to dominate the next month as Miller weighs his options about a potential return for a senior season, a run at yet another Big Ten player of the year trophy and a national championship. But as another trophy heads to the mantle at Miller’s parents’ house, it only increases the intrigue around the discussion. Because for all the success that is piling up with Ohio State, there still doesn’t seem to be a consensus about Miller’s future as a professional.
And Miller himself doesn’t appear to be any closer to figuring out whether his next move should be chasing history or a paycheck.
“It’s tough,” Miller told the Tribune. “I just don’t know. I’ve really got to sit down and go through the pros and cons. I’ll talk to my parents, take it slow.
“Hopefully ball out on January 3rd and see what the scouts are looking at.”
Miller could certainly use a much better passing outing on that date in the Discover Orange Bowl. If he does decide to forego his final year, the last month of his junior season left plenty of room for scouts to pick apart his arm.
The junior has always had enough arm strength to make every throw required of him, and he was clearly an improved passer for much of the season after devoting the spring and summer to improving his footwork, fine-tuning his accuracy and absorbing the playbook.
Where did all the football go? Urban Meyer senses an improved mood for Ohio State as it turns the page to the Discover Orange Bowl, and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had high praise for his upcoming opponent.
With another season in the books, the conversation at Penn State will shift to Bill O’Brien’s future with the program, as likely suitors again line up for his services.
Taylor Lewan has no regrets about returning to Michigan for another season, and he doesn’t believe his draft stock has changed since last year.
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi spurned an offer to take over at UConn, and now his full attention is on getting the Spartans ready for a bowl game.
Early in the season, Nebraska was desperately searching for a field general on defense. It appears to have found one in middle linebacker Michael Rose.
After getting benched late in a loss to Penn State to end the regular season, Wisconsin tackle Tyler Marz is looking for redemption.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Rutgers’ transition into the league is going smoothly at every level.
Controversy won’t be going away when college football shifts to a playoff, with Tom Osborne joking that the selection committee will succeed if it doesn’t “get lynched.”
Cody Webster is rubbing elbows with the nation’s best football players, and the Purdue punter is thinking about asking to snap a picture with Johnny Manziel.
Silver Football candidate Braxton Miller had everything change for him when he was almost sent to the bench in October. Now he’s on the brink of a historic accomplishment.
Covers Ohio State and the Big Ten.Joined ESPN in 2012.Attended the University of Wyoming. Tags:Purdue Boilermakers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten Conference, Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines, Wisconsin Badgers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Pat Narduzzi, Tom Osborne, Urban Meyer, Jim Delany, Taylor Lewan, Braxton Miller, Cody Webster, Michael Rose, Bill O’Brien, Taylor Marz
The craziest tradition in college football witnessed this fall had to be the Mirror Lake Jump at Ohio State University.
December, 8, 2013 Dec 8 9:00 AM ET COLUMBUS, Ohio — A closer look at a handful of standout performances in an otherwise disappointing night for No. 2 Ohio State, which dropped a 34-24 game to No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten championship. QB Braxton Miller: The junior clearly was not at his best throwing the football, and with a chance to come back hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter, he was stopped short on a critical carry on the ground as well. But there would have been no drama at all in Indianapolis if not for Miller’s heroics during a prolific stretch in the middle of the game, as he dragged the Buckeyes into the lead on the way to 142 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. His 8-of-21 passing performance clearly won’t do much for his draft stock if he decides to leave early, but Miller also was victimized a few times by drops from his receivers, as the Buckeyes ultimately came up short.
RB Carlos Hyde: The bulldozing running back couldn’t call his own number to get the football more often, but the senior was every bit as effective as usual when he did get the chance to go to work. Hyde’s final Big Ten game came against the toughest rush defense in the country, and he was more than up to the challenge, turning his 18 carries into 118 yards. The Buckeyes likely will look back and wonder why that load wasn’t far heavier considering how successful Hyde was against the Spartans and his track record of wearing teams down with a large volume of attempts.
LB Ryan Shazier: After an uncharacteristically bad penalty early on to extend a Michigan State drive, it seemed like Shazier was doing everything in his power to atone for it for the rest of the evening. The star junior blocked a punt, made 12 tackles, including 1½ for a loss, and he also broke up two passes to add to his already impressive resume this season. Injuries clearly have taken a toll on an Ohio State defense that didn’t have much depth to begin with this season, but Shazier has done an admirable job holding the unit together. He just needed a bit more help against a Michigan State offense that was balanced and more than capable of exploiting the Buckeyes. Covers Ohio State and the Big Ten.Joined ESPN in 2012.Attended the University of Wyoming.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — For the first four games of the season, just about everybody was playing well for Ohio State except LaQuinton Ross. On Saturday, he was one of the few Buckeyes who had a good game – and it made a world of difference. Ross scored four of his career-high 23 points in a 10-0 second-half run, leading No. 5 Ohio State past Central Connecticut State 74-56. ”I knew I was going to come around eventually,” Ross said after hitting 9 of 13 shots from the field and adding six rebounds and an assist. ”I’ve been playing basketball all my life. Everybody goes through situations, struggles, out there on the court. It was just something I had to get through. I knew I would get through it eventually.” After shooting 22 percent from the field at the start of the season, Ross is shooting 63 percent over his last three games. On a day when the Buckeyes (8-0) were lethargic at both ends, his shooting kept them in the lead and eventually put the game out of reach. ”Our mindset wasn’t right,” said Lenzelle Smith, who scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half. ”It was just us. We weren’t ready to play when we came out of the tunnel.” The Blue Devils (2-6) certainly were. Their 3-2 zone befuddled the Buckeyes. They got back quickly to snuff Ohio State’s transition game. And they took their time on offense, working for good shots while shooting 46 percent for the game. ”We came in here knowing Ohio State is as good as any team in the country,” coach Howie Dickenman said. ”We wanted to gain some respect; I thought we gained some respect.” The Buckeyes had won the only previous meeting between the teams in the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament. The top-ranked Buckeyes, behind Greg Oden’s 19 points and 10 rebounds, beat the Blue Devils 78-57. Ohio State would advance to the national championship game, losing to defending champion Florida. The Blue Devils scored six of the last eight points in the first half to cut a 14-point deficit to 38-29. ”It was sarcasm and angry at the same time,” Ross said of coach Thad Matta’s halftime talk in the locker room. ”He tried to keep cool because he feels like we’re a veteran team and some of the mistakes we were making we shouldn’t have made. I know for a fact he was upset. I think the whole team knew it.” Ahead 38-29 at the break, the Buckeyes had difficulty finishing off the pesky Blue Devils. The lead hovered around 10 points until Ohio State broke free from a 49-41 lead with a quick run. It started with a steal by Amedeo Della Valle that led to Smith’s dunk. After a CCSU miss, Sam Thompson hit a baseline jumper and, following a Blue Devils turnover, Aaron Craft fought through the traffic in the lane for a spinning layup that made it 55-41 – matching Ohio State’s biggest lead to that point. Soon after, the Buckeyes forced a shot-clock violation and Ross muscled inside for a bucket. He then stole the ball near midcourt and drove coast to coast for another layup and an 18-point lead. …
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A closer look at the critical areas and key players as No. 2 Ohio State takes on No. 10 Michigan State for the Big Ten championship in Indianapolis. Take it easy: The Buckeyes were clearly amped up emotionally against rival Michigan last week, and they paid a pretty steep price for losing focus when right guard Marcus Hall and hybrid offensive weapon Dontre Wilson were ejected. While Michigan State might not get the blood boiling like the Wolverines, there is even more on the line this week for Ohio State, which could mean even more potential for distraction. Obviously the conference title is up for grabs, but after moving into position to play for the national championship last weekend, the Buckeyes know they control their own destiny for a shot at the crystal football. It could slip away easily against the Spartans, who nearly knocked them off a year ago.
Ride Hyde: For all the emphasis Urban Meyer has placed on balancing out his spread attack this season between the run and the pass, one is clearly more effective than the other. And with Carlos Hyde rolling the way he has since Big Ten play opened, unless Michigan State’s top-ranked rushing defense can shut him down, the Buckeyes would be best served handing him the ball as often as possible. It doesn’t hurt to have Braxton Miller in the backfield with Hyde, and the two have formed perhaps the best tandem in the country this season. Ohio State has been more dangerous throwing the football this year, and Miller’s development as a passer does make the offense more difficult to defend. …
The only way college football could be better is if people had stronger opinions about it. Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was a little defensive about his unit, but everybody involved knows the effort will have to be better in the Big Ten title game.
The other defensive coordinator in the championship matchup, Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi, is trying to come up with answers for Ohio State’s prolific scoring machine.
The combination of two teams unbeaten in the conference finally gives the Big Ten a big showcase in its marquee game, writes Tom Dienhart.
Change is coming for Penn State, which appears to be shaking up its coaching staff and will be in the market for two new assistants this offseason.
Devin Gardner was clearly struggling at the end of his gritty performance on Saturday against Ohio State, and Michigan coach Brady Hoke revealed the injury was “turf toe.”
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was publicly reprimanded and fined $10,000 for his comments about the officiating after the loss on Friday against Iowa.
Purdue isn’t going to deviate from its plan to rebuild the program, though it clearly isn’t happy with an 11-loss season.
Illinois confirmed that Tim Beckman will return for another season on the sidelines. He’ll have a decision to make about defensive coordinator Tim Banks.
The final home game of the year brought a season-high for Wisconsin, as a fan checked in with a blood-alcohol content sample of .322 and six people were taken to a detox facility.
An in-depth look at a meeting and the circumstances that led to Kirk Ferentz taking over at Iowa and Bob Stoops heading to Oklahoma.
Covers Ohio State and the Big Ten.Joined ESPN in 2012.Attended the University of Wyoming. Tags:Purdue Boilermakers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Michigan State Spartans, Illinois Fighting Illini, Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines, Wisconsin Badgers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Big Ten, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Pat Narduzzi, Brady Hoke, Luke Fickell, Bob Stoops, Kirk Ferentz, Bo Pelini, Devin Gardner, Tim Beckman, Tim Banks
Updated: December 2, 2013, 7:08 PM ET By Austin Ward | ESPN.com COLUMBUS, Ohio — The obscene gestures that followed Ohio State right guard Marcus Hall’s ejection for fighting earned him a public reprimand from the Big Ten, but they won’t cost him any more playing time. After reviewing the video of both the on-field tussle that produced three total ejections in a rivalry game at Michigan on Saturday and the actions that followed it by Hall, the conference announced the reprimand for the senior and the coaching staff for the No. 2 Buckeyes. But it didn’t take further action against either, leaving Hall, Dontre Wilson and the staff all available for Saturday’s conference championship against No. 10 Michigan State in Indianapolis. “The Big Ten Conference expects all contests involving a member institution to be conducted without compromise to any fundamental element of sportsmanship … including integrity of the competition, civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials,” a conference release said. “The conference office also issued a public reprimand of the Ohio State football coaching staff for failing in its duty to effectively manage the process of escorting an ejected student-athlete from the playing field to the locker room.” On the way there, Hall violently tossed a helmet, kicked a bench and then made a pair of rude hand gestures before entering the tunnel to the locker room, which clearly separated him from Wilson or Michigan linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone, who were also ejected for the second-quarter dustup. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer indicated on Sunday that his players had already missed the required amount of action for fighting and wouldn’t tack on a suspension of his own, twice referencing the rule that calls for a player to miss a game for fighting and pointing out that “they lost a game.” Hall won’t lose another one now, getting official clearance to return to the starting lineup one day after posting an apology for his actions on Twitter. “I would like to apologize to The Ohio State University, The University of Michigan, my teammates, my family, the fans and the TV viewing audience for my behavior during yesterday’s game,” Hall said. “Wearing the scarlet and gray and uniform is a privilege and an honor.
Updated: December 2, 2013, 5:19 PM ET By Austin Ward | ESPN.com COLUMBUS, Ohio — The politicking has already started elsewhere, but Ohio State coach Urban Meyer isn’t going to the stump for his team. At least not yet. Meyer has refused to enter into any public debate about whether his team deserves to play for the national title, a conversation that at least one team behind his has been more than willing to join, with Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs comparing the third-ranked Tigers and the No. 2 Buckeyes. Instead, Meyer said Ohio State’s focus is on making a statement Saturday in the Big Ten championship game against No. 10 Michigan State, and that afterward he may have something else to add. “I’ll have a comment on Sunday,” Meyer said during his weekly news conference Monday. “We have to play a game. For someone to ask about something after this game, I mean, that’s cheating our football team. “There will be no conversation about what happens after this game until after this game.” Auburn has another game to play, as well, but Jacobs didn’t waste time touting the Tigers as worthy of jumping the Buckeyes into position to play for a crystal football. Jacobs made reference to a “struggle” for Ohio State in its 42-41 win over rival Michigan that preceded a wild 34-28 win for Auburn over then-No. 1 Alabama. He went on to call it a “disservice to the nation” if the Tigers are excluded from the title game, although neither Meyer nor the Buckeyes had any response to those comments when they spoke with the media Monday. …
Updated: December 2, 2013, 3:29 PM ET By Austin Ward | ESPN.com COLUMBUS, Ohio — The politicking has already started elsewhere, but Ohio State coach Urban Meyer isn’t going to the stump for his team. At least not yet. Meyer has refused to enter into any public debate about whether his team deserves to play for the national title, a conversation at least one team behind him has been more than willing to do with Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs comparing his team with the No. 2 Buckeyes. Instead, Ohio State’s sole focus is making a statement on the field Saturday against No. 10 Michigan State, and after that Meyer may have something else to add. “I’ll have a comment on Sunday,” Meyer said during his weekly news conference Monday. “We have to play a game. For someone to ask about something after this game, I mean, that’s cheating our football team. “There will be no conversation about what happens after this game until after this game.” The third-ranked Tigers have another game to play as well, but Jacobs didn’t waste any time touting his program as worthy of jumping the Buckeyes and into position to play for a crystal football. Jacobs made reference to a “struggle” for Ohio State in its 42-41 win over rival Michigan that preceded a wild 34-28 win for Auburn over then-No. 1 Alabama. He went on to call it a “disservice to the nation” if the Tigers are excluded from the national championship, though neither Meyer nor the Buckeyes had any response to those comments when they spoke with the media on Monday. …