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…
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has done plenty to justify his reputation as an early Heisman Trophy favorite. However, he’s far from the most prolific passer in the Beaver State. Oregon State’s Sean Mannion became the first FBS quarterback to reach 2,000 yards passing this season with another huge effort Saturday night, this time against Colorado. Mannion threw for 414 yards and a school-record six touchdowns in a 44-17 rout of the Buffaloes. He now has 2,018 yards through five games – a whopping 368 more than Ball State’s Keith Wenning – and is also first nationally with 21 TD passes. Mariota has thrown for 1,003 yards. But he’s got nine TD passes without a pick, five rushing touchdowns and a stunning 14 yards per carry for the unbeaten and second-ranked Ducks. If Mariota and Mannion keep racking up the stats, the Civil War showdown in Eugene in late November just might feature the nation’s two most prolific quarterbacks. Here are five other notable performances from the last weekend in September: HE WENT TO JARED: Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave threw for 295 yards in a loss to No. 4 Ohio State – and 207 of them went to Jared Abbrederis. He caught 10 passes, against the Buckeyes, many of them against Ohio State standout Bradley Roby, and had a 36-yard TD in the first half. Abbrederis is now fifth in the nation with 572 yards receiving. Mannion’s favorite target, Brandin Cooks, lead the country with 807 yards and nine touchdowns grabs. I CAN DRIVE 55: A pair of directional schools racked up surprisingly similar blowouts against their high-major neighbors on Saturday. Northern Illinois beat Purdue 55-24 – becoming the first Mid-American Conference team to defeat two Big Ten teams in the regular season – and East Carolina beat North Carolina 55-31. The Huskies, who edged Iowa 30-27 in their opener, jumped out to a 41-10 lead against the rebuilding Boilermakers and wound up tying for the largest margin of victory for a MAC team against a Big Ten opponent. The Pirates had 603 yards against the Tar Heels, who fell behind 14-0 and never got within single digits after that. LOBO-MOTIVE: New Mexico had three players rush for at least 100 yards for the first time in school history – and lost. The Lobos fell to UNLV 56-42 despite triple-digit efforts from Kasey Carrier, whose 192 yards were tops in the nation on Saturday, and Carlos Wiggins and Cole Gautsche. But New Mexico also allowed 568 yards, four touchdowns passing and four TDs rushing. The Lobos are now third nationally in rushing offense and 116th in rushing defense. EMPTY CALORIES: Five quarterbacks that threw for at least 350 yards lost on Saturday, led by Zach Mettenberger’s 372 yards in a 44-41 loss by LSU at Georgia. North Carolina’s Bryn Renner, UTEP’s Jameill Showers, UCF’s Blake Bortels and Troy’s Corey Robinson also threw for at least 350 in a losing effort…
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Contrived or not, there’s officially no controversy now.
The conversation about whether Kenny Guiton had done enough to take over as Ohio State’s starting quarterback had drawn on with Braxton Miller defenseless, unable to make his case while recovering from a sprained knee.
Finally able to play again, Miller made it abundantly clear that he’s not only the best option for the Buckeyes, he’s among the most dangerous players in the entire country.
In case anybody had forgotten how lethal he is with his legs or improved he is with his arm, Miller provided a refresher course in a 31-24 win over No. 23 Wisconsin and its stout defense that should silence any remaining skeptics over who should be taking Ohio State’s snaps.
“I don’t really look into how the media deals with that,” Miller said. “It doesn’t bother me at all.
“I was proud of Kenny and the way he led the team while I was out, and I look at him as a big brother. So, no controversy with that.”
There was never really any to begin with inside the program, and despite the bracketing of his top two quarterbacks on Urban Meyer’s depth chart earlier in the week, the Buckeyes coach made it clear again after knocking off the Badgers that Miller solidly remains his first choice.
+ EnlargeJamie Sabau/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller made plays with both his arm and his legs and showed why there is no controversy about who is Ohio State’s starting QB. After missing the last two game and nearly all of another one, Miller wasted little time proving why. He rifled bullets all over the field in one of his most efficient passing performances, steadily took on more of a workload as a rusher and showed few signs of rust after the layoff. He dropped in a 25-yard strike to Evan Spencer on the opening drive of the game. He delivered a gorgeous, driven, back-shoulder throw to Devin Smith for a 26-yard touchdown. Then, after one of his worst tosses of the night, Miller capped the first half with a 40-yard bomb to Philly Brown that sent the Buckeyes into the locker room with all the momentum before going to work on the clock with his legs down the stretch.
In all Miller completed 17 of his 25 passes for 198 yards and 4 touchdowns and tacked on 83 more yards on the ground, turning in exactly the kind of versatile performance that made him a preseason favorite for the Heisman Trophy and the Buckeyes a threat in the national title race.
“No doubt about the starter, not if he’s healthy,” Meyer said of Miller. “When I saw Braxton on Thursday, there was no doubt who was going to be our starter.
“The team we played is very good, should be undefeated except for some ridiculous call. … I think he played very well. Braxton did have a heck of a day.”
Miller has had more than a few like it before, though the fresher memories for the Buckeyes have been of Guiton after a prolific touchdown binge while filling in over the last three games that rewrote the school record books.
Ohio State has brainstormed for ways to get both quarterbacks involved in the offense, either together in one formation or through some sort of rotation…
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Having the best seat in the house to watch Wisconsin’s three running backs weave their way to the end zone, quarterback Joel Stave can’t help but acknowledge how Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement have eased some of the offense’s burden.
Ohio State faces their toughest test of the season Saturday as they welcome Big Ten rival Wisconsin Badgers to the Horseshoe. The Buckeyes are coming off a 76-0 blowout win over Florida A&M where backup quarterback Kenny Guiton threw for 215 yards and six touchdowns. Heading into the game head coach Urban Meyer is unsure who will start: junior QB Braxton Miller, who is recovering from a knee injury, or Guiton. Let’s look at some of the trends for Saturday night’s game, as Ohio State looks to prove that they are not only the best team in the Big Ten, but in the country. Buckeye Quarterback Play The biggest question heading into the game is who is going to start at quarterback for the Buckeyes. Heading into the season, Braxton Miller was the No.1 QB on the roster and was a Heisman hopeful. However in the second game of the season against San Diego State, Miller hurt his knee and hasn’t played since. On Tuesday, however, Meyer said that there is a 90 percent chance that Miller will start against Wisconsin. The decision is not as straightforward as it seems. Guiton is a senior captain and has played exceptionally well in the two games he has started. He has 13 touchdown passes on the year to just two interceptions. All signs point to Miller taking the opening snap against the Badgers, but don’t be surprised if Guiton gets a couple series and continues to showcase his talents. How Will Ohio State Stop Wisconsin Running Backs James…