Week Two of the college football season is officially in the books and once again your Empire team is here to pass out a few helmet stickers to deserving Buckeyes. The Bucks let UCF hang in a little tougher than we had hoped, but when the final horn sounded Ohio State had moved on to 2-0 with a 31-16 victory over the Conference USA foe.
Once again sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller lit up the box score and will take home a few more leaves this week, and that really comes as no surprise. What is a little shocking is the two defensive reps we’ll highlight this week, one as a repeat performer after taking home a few stickers last week and the other who has spent a good portion of his career in the performance doghouse. Off we go.
The Heisman watch isn’t on quite yet, and will likely have to wait until next season, but Miller is putting up eye-popping numbers after a freshman year that saw him struggle to adjust to the college game.
In two games thus far he’s completed 32 of 48 pass attempts (66.6%) for 362 yards and three touchdowns against only one interception – and has carried the ball 44 times already for 302 yards, good for a. 8.9-yard average, and has scored four times. In short, it often looks as though offensive coordinator Tom Herman has a PS3 controller on the sideline controlling Brax.
Saturday at Ohio Stadium, Miller recorded 296 of Ohio State’s 411 total yards while completing 75% of his pass attempts and accounted for all four of the Buckeyes’ touchdowns (3 in the air, one on the ground). He’s really still getting his feet under him in Meyer’s new system, but the flashes he’s shown thus far prove that an ultra-promising career is ahead of the young man – and we get to watch it unfold right in front of our eyes.
Orhian Johnson got his first interception of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time than it did. With the Knights down 15 entering the 4th quarter and driving inside of Ohio State’s ten-yard-line, Johnson cut off a pass at the five and closed out the Knights’ momentum for good. UCF would only find their way into Buckeyes territory twice more, once to the 47 and on the final, meaningless drive of the game as the clock winded down on Ohio State’s second win of 2012.
Head coach Urban Meyer has had nothing but good things to say about Johnson as of late:
He’s another guy who has been around here (but) production hasn’t been exactly what it needs to be. He earned that right (to play more) in practice. He does some really good things for us on special teams, and we felt like we needed more production out of that nickel spot.
With the score tied at 10 and the Knights near midfield half way through the second quarter, Johnson tipped a pass right into the hands of Travis Howard for his third interception of the season, a turnover the Bucks capitalized on when they drove half the field for a touchdown to take a 17-10 lead into halftime.
Howard also recorded six tackles on Saturday, second on the team.
After a career that’s seen it’s ups and downs, Howard has really stepped up in both games thus far in 2012. He’s becoming the shutdown corner we hoped he would be a year ago and has gained a lot of respect and confidence from head coach Urban Meyer. At the rate he’s going, with his size and speed, Howard is all but a lock for an NFL roster next year. In the meantime let’s hope he keeps making big plays for the Silver Bullets and racking up helmet stickers during his final season in Columbus.
Others receiving helmet stickers this week:
None (Miller, Johnson, Howard received all sixteen stickers handed out by eight Empire team members)
2012 Season Totals:
- Braxton Miller (13)
- Travis Howard (9)
- Orhian Johnson (4)
- Devin Smith (3)
- Carlos Hyde (1)
- Ryan Shazier (1)
- Etienne Sabino (1)
- Nathan Williams (1)
- Zach Boren (1)