Sunday, September 29, 2013
Week 5 helmet stickers
By Austin Ward
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A closer look at the standouts from Ohio State's 31-24 win over Wisconsin to open Big Ten play on Saturday night at the Horseshoe.
QB Braxton Miller: The junior was far from a forgotten man while on the shelf for the last three weeks, but his absence and Kenny Guiton's red-hot play at least planted the seeds for a quarterback controversy. Miller emphatically silenced that conversation with four touchdown passes and 83 rushing yards, turning in the type of versatile, explosive performance that he made seem so common a year ago while finishing fifth in the Heisman Trophy race. At a minimum, Miller picked up right where he left off -- but he might actually be better than ever.
LB Ryan Shazier: In the first smashmouth test of the season for the Ohio State defense, the junior again showed how integral he is to shutting down a physical opponent. He flew around making plays from sideline to sideline and in the Wisconsin backfield. Shazier made 9 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, forced a fumble and was credited with a quarterback hurry in another outing that proved he's just as valuable to what the Buckeyes do defensively as Miller is to the offense. Other linebackers can rack up hits, but Shazier finds ways to stuff the stats sheet from all angles.
WR Philly Brown: As a punt returner, the senior has had some shaky moments early in the season and needed to be bailed out after muffing a ball against the Badgers. But as a receiver, Brown has never been better, and he and Miller formed a terrific combination and seamlessly got back on the same page after a couple games without playing together. Brown finished with 8 catches for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns, and his sure-handed grab of a 40-yard bomb to cap the first half with a score was crucial for the Buckeyes.