With the numbers Braxton Miller has been posting this season, it was no surprise to see him excel on Saturday against Cal. Miller’s performance has earned him B1G Player of the Week, but more importantly it’s earned him respect from Buckeye fans that were still doubtful of his ability.
Saturday’s game started with a blast from the past, the first Ohio State offensive play was a rushing attempt from Jordan Hall. With NCAA sanctions and injuries, Hall missed most of last season and the beginning of this one; it was nice to see him finally running the ball again. With Hall back, Miller didn’t have as much work to do on the ground, and was finally able to focus on his passing game.
MILLER SHOWS UP…AGAIN | 5:11 1st
The first four drives of the game didn’t result in any points, and then BAM!, it’s like Braxton Miller slapped everyone in face. Following an incomplete pass to Philly Brown, and a short 6 yard run from Hall, Braxton shook the Horseshoe with a 55-yard run for the Buckeyes first touchdown of the game. Drew Basil missed the extra point, leaving the Buckeyes 6-0.
MAYNARD TO HARPER | 2:38 1st
Cal’s offense took the field, and you could tell they wanted Basil to pay for missing the point after. Isi Sofele rushed twice for 31 yards, followed by a couple short plays by CJ Anderson and Jacob Walk. Quarterback Zach Maynard finished the drive with a 19 yard pass to Chris Harper for Cal’s first touchdown of the game. Unlike the Buckeyes, their kicker made the extra point, leaving the Buckeyes down by 1.
MILLER CAN THROW, SMITH CAN CATCH | 1:11 1st
You could feel the intensity starting to build on the Ohio State sidelines. After back-to-back scoring drives, the Buckeyes were looking to take the lead. Braxton Miller led the Buckeyes down the field using the least obvious threat, his arm. Miller completed a short 9 yard pass to Devin Smith, followed by a one yard run for a first down. Miller surprised everyone with a successful 40 yard bomb to Jake Stoneburner, and completed the drive with a 25 yard pass to Smith for a touchdown. Basil, looking to reclaim his good name, made the point after.
MILLER TO STONEBURNER | 13:30 2nd
The Buckeyes didn’t need to waste time with long drives down the field, and keeping with this pattern, the first drive of the second quarter only lasted 1:33. Braxton Miller was FINALLY throwing the ball successfully; after a 35 yard pass to Devin Smith and a 9 yard rush from Miller, Stoneburner caught a 1 yard pass for the touchdown.
BIGELOW RUNS THROUGH OSU DEFENSE | 9:34 3rd
After a missed field goal by Cal, and the rest of a slow second quarter, the score going into halftime was Ohio State 20, Cal 7. The one and only scoring play during the third quarter of Saturday’s game was by Cal’s running back, Brendan Bigelow. There was only one play during the drive, and it was Bigelow himself who looked like Braxton Miller when he ran for an 81 yard touchdown after spinning twice near the Cal sideline and staying on his feet.
MAYNARD RUSHES UP THE MIDDLE | 12:26 4th
Going into the fourth quarter, Ohio State was up by six, but not for long. The point after missed by Basil was following the team around the whole game; things didn’t get better when the first drive of the fourth quarter ended with Cal’s quarterback Zach Maynard rushing for 1 yard into the end zone. After the extra point, Cal took the lead 21-20.
MILLER TO STONBURNER, PART 2 | 8:31 4th
The Buckeyes were not going to take being behind lightly, and had their longest drive of the game. This particular drive didn’t have anything fancy about it, but all you need is first downs to get toward the end zone. The Buckeyes had six first downs; the drive ended with a three yard pass to Stoneburner for Miller’s 3rd passing touchdown of the game. I have to imagine at this point Coach Urban Meyer knew that we needed to make up for the missed kick in the first quarter, and successfully had Miller run for the two-point conversion.
BIGELOW DOES IT AGAIN | 8:10 4th
Ohio State fans were immediately happy Meyer decided to go for two, when it only took 2 plays from Bigelow to show up in the end zone again. Bigelow rushed for 16 yards, then immediately, ran for 59 yards to finish the drive for six points. Cal’s kicker Vincenzo D’Amato made his fourth extra point for the day, leaving the score all tied up at 28 with seven minutes left in the game.
MILLER, SMITH BREAK RECORDS | 3:26 4th
The game was all tied up and the ball was back in the hands of Braxton Miller. For a man who seems to constantly be one-upping himself, Miller launched the ball down the sideline into the hands of Devin Smith for a game-winning, 72-yard touchdown.
After this last touchdown play, Miller’s numbers were unbelievable and a first for the sophomore; he threw for 249 yards and 4 touchdowns, not to mention his 75 yards on the ground and 1 rushing touchdown. Devin Smith also had a career-high on Saturday with 145 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
While there’s still a lot that needs sharpened up with the Ohio State football team, there are enough positives to come out of this game to keep the hope alive in Buckeye Nation. Next week, the Buckeyes go up against UAB, and all eyes will be on what Braxton Miller has planned next.