COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A closer look at a handful of standout performances in an otherwise disappointing night for No. 2 Ohio State, which dropped a 34-24 game to No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten championship.
QB Braxton Miller: The junior clearly was not at his best throwing the football, and with a chance to come back hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter, he was stopped short on a critical carry on the ground as well. But there would have been no drama at all in Indianapolis if not for Miller's heroics during a prolific stretch in the middle of the game, as he dragged the Buckeyes into the lead on the way to 142 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. His 8-of-21 passing performance clearly won't do much for his draft stock if he decides to leave early, but Miller also was victimized a few times by drops from his receivers, as the Buckeyes ultimately came up short.
RB Carlos Hyde: The bulldozing running back couldn't call his own number to get the football more often, but the senior was every bit as effective as usual when he did get the chance to go to work. Hyde's final Big Ten game came against the toughest rush defense in the country, and he was more than up to the challenge, turning his 18 carries into 118 yards. The Buckeyes likely will look back and wonder why that load wasn't far heavier considering how successful Hyde was against the Spartans and his track record of wearing teams down with a large volume of attempts.
LB Ryan Shazier: After an uncharacteristically bad penalty early on to extend a Michigan State drive, it seemed like Shazier was doing everything in his power to atone for it for the rest of the evening. The star junior blocked a punt, made 12 tackles, including 1½ for a loss, and he also broke up two passes to add to his already impressive resume this season. Injuries clearly have taken a toll on an Ohio State defense that didn't have much depth to begin with this season, but Shazier has done an admirable job holding the unit together. He just needed a bit more help against a Michigan State offense that was balanced and more than capable of exploiting the Buckeyes.