Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Year in review: QB play leads Buckeyes
By Austin Ward
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, starting today by rewinding to look at the dynamic play from the guy taking the snaps and looking at some numbers that will go down in the school record books.
Braxton Miller had more than 3,000 yards of total offense and became a Heisman Trophy candidate in 2012.
Most valuable player: The starter at the most important position on the field and a spot that is occupied full-time by one guy makes this a bit obvious, but Braxton Miller was clearly the man most responsible on the field for what the Buckeyes accomplished in 12 games. The future for the sophomore figures to be even brighter, and there was nothing wrong with a year that included 3,310 yards of offense and 28 total touchdowns.
By the numbers: With his multipurpose skills and the new spread attack, the ball was always going to be in Miller's hands the majority of the time. But it might still have been a bit tough to imagine the quarterback leading or tying for the most rushing attempts in seven different games for the Buckeyes and surviving the season in one piece -- which he did aside from the final quarter and overtime against Purdue. In all Miller rushed 227 times, with the toughness and durability he showed proving critical on the road to perfection.
Best moment: Miller delivered no shortage of unforgettable highlights, but the one that will likely be remembered most fondly by the Buckeyes came from his backup. With the starter heading to the hospital after being thrown violently to the turf in the second half against Purdue, Kenny Guiton came off the bench and rallied the offense in the face of incredibly long odds to force overtime with an epic touchdown drive in the last 47 seconds -- then polishing it off with the two-point conversion. The chances of remaining unbeaten dangled by a thread, and Ohio State had enough talent in reserve to keep on rolling.
Preseason question: Could Braxton Miller improve his accuracy as a passer?
Postseason answer: Miller was much more efficient and had the statistics to prove it, bumping his completion percentage up from 54.1 as a freshman to 58.3 as a sophomore. The Buckeyes would like to see that number head north of 60, and he should get there if duplicates the strides from his first year to his second.
Looking ahead: Both Miller and Guiton will be back in 2013, giving the Buckeyes an enviable one-two combination at quarterback. Even better for Ohio State, Miller now has spent an entire season in the spread offense and will have 15 more workouts during spring practice and another full training camp in August to expand on his knowledge and sharpen his fundamentals.