COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Counting down the five most impressive statistical performances so far this season for Ohio State as it heads into a bye week before trying to close out a perfect season against Wisconsin and Michigan.
No. 1: Braxton Miller
When: Sept. 8 against UCF
What: The expectation had always been that the spread offense would feature the strengths of the sophomore quarterback, but in just the second game in the new system, it pretty much relied on Miller's ability exclusively in a physical, grinding nonconference meeting with UCF. Still working out some kinks and then dealing with multiple injuries at running back, the Buckeyes simply relied on Miller to carry the offense -- and he did that with 155 passing yards and a touchdown to go with 27 rugged carries for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Impact: There's no shortage of impressive performances to pick from, and trying to narrow it down to the top outing this season is certainly a challenge. But it became clear early on that the Buckeyes would only go as far as Miller could take them with his dual-threat ability, and from the first time he was asked to shoulder the load against UCF and through more recent Big Ten play, he has delivered every time for a team without a loss yet with new coach Urban Meyer.
How: The accuracy in his throwing arm still leaves a bit to be desired, but Miller clearly has enough ability to keep teams honest and keep them from loading up to stop him from running. Even when they do, Miller's rapid acceleration, elite speed and a competitive streak that drives him to fight for every yard and bounce back from injuries has made him almost impossible to slow down on the ground this season.
For the season: 184 carries for 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns; 124-for-218 for 1,753 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions
He said it: “[Twenty-seven carries are] too much, that’s 27 hits and he’s blown out right now. We’ve got to be smart. But someone has to run the ball right now, and he’s our best answer. ... Braxton Miller is the best runner on our team." -- Urban Meyer, after the win against UCF