No one can deny that Saturday’s Ohio State game vs UCF could have been named “The Braxton Miller Show!” With three rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown, Miller was finally starting to look like the type of quarterback Buckeye fans are used to seeing. Following the game, it came as little surprise that Miller had finally made the list of candidates for the Heisman trophy.
Braxton personally had a great game against the Knights; he passed for 155 yards, 18 out of 24 completions. It was great seeing him throw the ball regularly throughout the game, but everyone knows his real strength is running. Saturday, Miller had 27 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns. He was picking up the slack after Carlos Hyde left the game with a sprained MCL, but he still rushed for 108 yards MORE than the next highest rusher (Philly Brown for 33 yards).
“Everything they talk about Braxton Miller is accurate,” UCF coach George O’ Leary said. “He can make you look very foolish. At times he did with our team.”
This game made Braxton Miller a stand out, but he showed a lot of skill during the first week’s game against Miami (OH) too. During that game, Miller set a school record for quarterbacks with 161 rushing yards.
There is no doubt Miller has improved from last year, he still needs to throw the ball better and more accurately, but he is no match on the ground. He leads the Big Ten in total offense so far this season, and with work still needing to be done, there is a lot of potential out of this season.
The Heisman rankings so far are not in Miller’s favor, but since it’s so early in the season there is plenty of time for things to change. The current leader is USC’s Matt Barkley. Barkley isn’t a rushing quarterback, but he’s thrown 10 touchdowns in the first two games of the season, six TDs alone in last week’s game against Syracuse.
Geno Smith is another high ranked Heisman hopeful, the quarterback out of West Virginia. He’s only had four passing and one rushing touchdown this season, but thanks to the struggles of Montee Ball last week, his position for the Heisman advanced.
Both Smith and Barkley are seniors and have earned their top spots on the watch lists, but with Braxton Miller’s talent as only a sophomore, voters could be impressed. The only other sophomore in the race for the Heisman is Oregon’s running back De’Anthony Thomas. So far this season, Thomas has three rushing touchdowns and 166 yards on the ground, his average per rush is 16.6 yards. He also has 81 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Luckily for Miller, he’s only had one interception this season, as have most other quarterbacks in the race, so that stat doesn’t look like it will hurt him early on. He needs to stay diligent though, and when he’s working on his throwing game he also needs to learn not to put the ball in dangerous spots. Ohio State has actually been looking like a standout in the Big Ten so far this season, with upsets throughout both divisions.
Poor showings from both Michigan and Wisconsin last week sent Heisman hopefuls Denard Robinson and Montee Ball dropping on the watch lists. If Braxton can maintain the same type of discipline throughout the season, he may turn into the Big Ten’s only hope of bringing back the trophy.
He would also have a chance to win it multiple years since he’s so young and has much more to do and learn. Miller would be the only player since Archie Griffin to win two Heisman trophies if he were able to pull it off, and it’d be great to keep that exclusivity at THE Ohio State University.