COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller is coming back for his senior season. Miller announced Thursday night through the university he will return.
Ohio State (minus 2 1/2) vs. Clemson
Why watch? Sammy Watkins’ speed. Carlos Hyde’s power. Tajh Boyd’s throws. Braxton Miller’s moves.
Pick: OHIO STATE 35-28.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A closer look at the key players for No. 7 Ohio State and what’s on the line for them as the Buckeyes prepare for a marquee matchup in the Discover Orange Bowl against No. 12 Clemson. + EnlargeJamie Sabau/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller completed only 46 percent of his passes in Ohio State’s last four games this season.QB Braxton Miller: The spotlight is always on the junior quarterback, but he appears to be welcoming even more attention on his game heading into the postseason and what might be an audition for NFL scouts and general managers as he weighs his options for next season. Miller struggled throwing the ball down the stretch, and the Buckeyes clearly were limited offensively in the Big Ten title game against Michigan State. Unable to throw downfield, they had no way to unpack the crowded box aimed at slowing him and Carlos Hyde down as rushing threats. The biggest question about Miller’s professional future always has been about unlocking his potential as a passer, because the rest of his talents aren’t up for debate. He might benefit from another season with the program, but if Miller is able to carve up a Clemson defense that ranks No. 16 in the nation in pass defense, that might tip the scales for him to skip his senior season.
DT Michael Bennett: The junior already is committed to returning for another season with the Buckeyes after his breakout campaign up front. That will give the program a complete unit returning just a year after having to replace all four starters. …
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Urban Meyer believes Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has a future as a pro.”I certainly get asked that question: Can Braxton Miller be an NFL quarterback?” he said. ”Absolutely, he can. No doubt in my mind because he continues to develop.”Just not right away.”He has a skill set to be a pro quarterback,” Meyer said this week during preparations for the third-ranked Buckeyes’ major showdown at rival Michigan on Saturday. ”I don’t believe he’s ready yet.”Of course, no one could blame Meyer for being protective of his junior signal-caller. He knows how far Miller has come, but he also believes – granted, it’s also self-serving – that Miller would benefit from another year in Ohio State’s spread system.Even Miller is amazed by where he was two years ago, a freshman tossed into the mix when three-year starter Terrelle Pryor abruptly jumped to the NFL in the summer and in the middle of an NCAA investigation.”I was thrown in there early,” Miller said. ”I don’t think I was ready at that time. But I did what I had to do. It was kind of a big stage at the time. It was kind of tough because I was so young and I really didn’t expect to play as a freshman.”Now that he has three years as a starter under his belt, he’s adding things on an almost weekly or daily basis to his repertoire.He used to be a runner who lined up at quarterback; now he’s a quarterback who can run.View gallery.”FILE – In this Nov. 23, 2013 file photo, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (5) is congratulated …Part of the reason he’s improved, in addition to cataloguing all of the experiences of 33 games and hundreds of practices, is that Miller has learned to let go. Instead of over-analyzing each play, each call, each read, he appears to be enjoying himself more on the field.”You can tell with Braxton, he had a smile on his face every time he made a play,” said wide receiver Devin Smith after a recent game. ”You could tell he enjoys playing the game.”The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder from suburban Dayton, Ohio, is completing 68 percent of his passes for 181 yards a game and has totaled 19 touchdowns against just four interceptions. He has also discovered when and where to run, following up a 2012 season in which he ran for a school-record 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns by running for 738 yards and five scores.It’s clear that, because of his maturation, the offense is vastly improved. The Buckeyes are averaging 49 points (third in all of major-college football) and 531 yards per game (seventh in the nation).”It’s growing up, being more mature, handling the things that come in front of you,” he said of his education at the position. ”Coach Meyer came in, told me a lot of things. (Offensive coordinator Tom) Herman worked with me on fundamentals and learning how to read defenses and being a leader on the offense.”Two years ago, Miller overthrew a wide-open DeVier Posey for what would have been a game-winning, 76-yard touchdown in the final minute against Michigan. Ohio State lost at The Big House, 40-34.The Wolverines know they are facing a different player this time.”Their quarterback has played well,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. ”He’s throwing the ball a little better.”Michigan cornerback Courtney Avery added, ”Braxton is doing a great job with the passing game.”Miller has thrown 606 passes in his college career but it wasn’t until his 598th attempt that Meyer realized just how far his quarterback had come.He stood tall in the face of a stiff rush to complete a 34-yard pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman last Saturday, setting up a touchdown late in the half of what would become a rather mundane 42-14 win over Indiana.Until then, Miller had never shown Meyer that he was willing to stare down an onrushing defender to hit a receiver.”That was the best play I think he’s had as a quarterback,” Meyer said. ”That was his moment.”On a crisp Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich., he’ll be asked to take another big step forward.—Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAPSports & RecreationAmerican FootballUrban MeyerBraxton Miller
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Even for the sake of comparison, Urban Meyer has little use for the film from 2011. The Ohio State coach wasn’t around then, so it wasn’t his spread offense being used. Illinois has changed coaches and changed defensively since two years ago as well, leaving little to be gleaned from the last visit the Buckeyes made to Memorial Stadium. And Meyer’s quarterback was a banged-up, inexperienced freshman then, and his game would almost certainly be unrecognizable if the coach decided to pop in the video just to see how far Braxton Miller has come.
But because Meyer is already aware of the most notable number from that ugly win for the Buckeyes, he hardly needs the visual confirmation. The Buckeyes have seen enough improvement from Miller as a passer just since Meyer arrived that watching him complete just one pass in four attempts might be overkill.
+ EnlargeAP Photo/Seth PerlmanA banged-up Braxton Miller had a rough time in his first game against Illinois back in 2011. But Ohio State still won 17-7 in Miller’s freshman season.“I know we had a young quarterback and a fairly nonfunctional group of wideouts, so I would imagine you were going to do what we did last year and run the quarterback a lot,” Meyer said. “Do what you’ve got to do to walk out of there with a win. “I can assure you that we’re in a much different place than he was two years ago. And I can see that.”
Even without measuring the improvement since Oct. 15, 2011, the evidence that Miller is playing the best football of his career has been impossible to ignore over the last few games.
In the last three starts, the junior has combined to complete nearly 80 percent of his passes for 707 yards and nine touchdowns, moving the ball and scoring points so efficiently that he’s barely needed to play after halftime of the last two blowout victories. And while those outings certainly blow his 1-completion, 17-yard, 1-touchdown outing against Illinois two years ago out of the water, the dramatic development in the passing attack revolves around more than just Miller.
There’s no question Miller has become more mechanically sound, has improved in his ability to break down defenses and become comfortable in the spread in his second season under Meyer. But the Buckeyes have taken steps forward all around him as well, starting with a veteran offensive line affording him great protection to significant upgrades from Philly Brown, Devin Smith and a deeper cast of wideouts making plays on the perimeter.
“Looking back, that’s crazy to me just because our passing game has evolved so much now,” left tackle Jack Mewhort said. “We have so many different guys score touchdowns for us now, to just have one pass completion, that’s kind of unreal to think about.
“Braxton and the skill guys have come so far, I don’t think it’s going to be like that this year. …
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — There’s a joke making the rounds in the Big Ten that maybe they ought to just name the freshman-of-the-week honors in the conference the Christian Hackenberg Award. After all, it seems he wins it every week.
October, 20, 2013 Oct 20 9:00 AM ET COLUMBUS, Ohio — A closer look at the standouts in No. 4 Ohio State’s 34-24 win over Iowa on Saturday at the Horseshoe. QB Braxton Miller: After admitting earlier in the week that he wasn’t feeling like his “old self,” the junior quarterback turned in a vintage performance both on the ground and through the air to keep the Buckeyes unbeaten. Miller was staggeringly efficient as he completed 22 of his 27 passing attempts, throwing for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. And his knee clearly wasn’t holding him back, as he rushed for 102 yards, including a highlight-reel scramble in the fourth quarter to set up the go-ahead touchdown.
LB Curtis Grant: Playing with a heavy heart after the loss of his father during the bye week, Grant channeled the emotions into a productive outing in the middle of the defense and helped spark the unit into a strong finish after a sloppy first half. The junior linebacker didn’t make as many tackles as Ryan Shazier, but Grant’s eight hits were next on the list and continued his emergence after two mostly lost seasons on the sideline.
RB Carlos Hyde: The bullish rusher might have the ultimately highlight to illustrate his style now. The senior took a handoff around the right side in the red zone, bounced off a tackler inside the 10-yard line and actually went backwards for a few yards before regaining his footing for the game-winning touchdown. In all, Hyde racked up 149 yards and added one other score. Covers Ohio State and the Big Ten.Joined ESPN in 2012.Attended the University of Wyoming.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — No. 17 Florida hasn’t gotten this kind of quarterback play, at least not for three consecutive games, since the Tim Tebow era. Tyler Murphy, a fourth-year junior who didn’t take a snap his first three seasons, has shown poise and pocket presence. He has been accurate and efficient. He has taken care of the ball, turned negative plays into big gains and helped the Gators overcome a season-ending injury to starter Jeff Driskel. In three games, Murphy has performed better than Driskel and everyone else who threw passes at Florida since Tebow’s departure in 2010. And if anyone wants to call Murphy a ”game manager,” well, that’s just fine. Murphy and the Gators (4-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) welcome the label. They even consider it a compliment. ”I’ve been criticized a little bit for saying ‘managed,”’ coach Will Muschamp said. ”That’s the greatest compliment you can give a quarterback. Tom Brady is a great game manager. It’s about converting third downs. It’s about completing passes. It’s about getting your offense in and out of the right runs, the right passes, protections, taking the ball to the right spot, taking care of the football, scoring points, moving your team, your team having in confidence in you. ”That’s one of the greatest compliments you can have as a quarterback – a game manager. I don’t know where that became a bad word in the coaching profession.” Murphy has completed 72 percent of his passes for 530 yards, with five touchdowns and an interception, in wins against Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas. The Wethersfield, Conn., native also has been sacked just three times. Murphy ranks third in the SEC in passing efficiency, improving his numbers with every game. Not since Tebow’s final three games has any Florida quarterback been as productive as Murphy over a three-game stretch. His next start – Saturday at 10th-ranked LSU (5-1, 2-1) – should be more telling than the others. …
The Ohio State Buckeyes may have gotten the win, but Braxton Miller’s poor performance has officially reignited the quarterback controversy between himself and Kenny Guiton. It was a close win for the No. 4 Buckeyes, who topped No. 16 Northwestern, 40-30, thanks to some late-game heroics by Carlos Hyde, who ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns on the day. Miller, on the other hand, didn’t help his team out much. He went 15-of-26 for 203 yards and an interception. He also ran for 68 yards on 17 carries, but had two fumbles, including one at the 1-yard line that appeared at the time to be a devastating blow to the Buckeyes and their dreams of a perfect season. That crucial fumble came when the Buckeyes were down 23-13 in the third quarter. With the end zone in sight on 1st-and-goal, Miller scrambled toward the toward the goal line. Instead of running it in, Miller got stripped at the 1-yard line, and the Wildcats recovered, making it seem like the game was about to get out of hand for Ohio State. With all of Miller’s struggles today, the QB controversy has officially returned. When the sophomore Miller was injured, Guiton stepped up and made some huge plays on offense. He played significant time in just three games and threw for 664 yards, 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions, while completing 68.4 percent of his passes. He was sacked just one time and had a 168.1 passer rating. The offense was much more efficient when Guiton…
In the early part of the 2013 season, Ohio State had to endure a change at quarterback. But all the while the Buckeyes kept on winning. After preseason Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller went down in Week 2, senior Kenny Guiton filled in and the OSU offense didn’t miss a beat. When Miller returned in Week 5 for the Buckeyes’ first challenge of the season, they kept on rolling and took down Wisconsin, 31-24. While Guiton’s successful play in place of Miller sparked a bit of a quarterback controversy in Columbus, it shouldn’t have—not just because Miller is the clear leader of the team, but because whom Ohio State has lining up under center doesn’t really matter all that much. OSU can clearly win with Guiton or Miller at the helm. With two proven players at the point, the key to Ohio State’s Big Ten and BCS title run will rest on its running game and defense. The Buckeyes can run the ball about as well as any team in the country and have averaged 287.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks them 12th nationally. And they have done all of this without their preseason starter at running back, Carlos Hyde. After serving a suspension to start the year, Hyde returned for OSU’s last two games and recorded 22 carries. In his short time back on the field, Hyde quickly became one of six OSU rushers to net more than 100 yards on the ground this season. In Hyde’s stead, senior Jordan Hall has led the way with 427 yards and is tied for second in the nation…