Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Perfect moments: No. 3
By Austin Ward
BuckeyeNation counts down the five biggest moments on the march to perfection for Ohio State, from the biggest games and plays to the locker room speeches and celebrations -- continuing today with one of the most unforgettable short-yardage plays ever.
Braxton Miller's deft manuevering on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the Buckeyes the push they needed to topple Penn State on Oct. 27.
The in-play audible.
The other-worldly, step-back juke.
The change of direction in midair to slip between two tackles.
If there was any doubt left about the excitement Braxton Miller can provide from anywhere on the field, he erased it once and for all Oct. 27 with perhaps the most exhilarating 1-yard touchdown anybody could ever produce. And if the sophomore quarterback can turn a gain of three feet into an unforgettable moment and a score that effectively signaled the end of Penn State's chances of handing the Buckeyes their first loss, it's no wonder his highlight reel had so many entries this season.
"You just don't see athletes do that, period, let alone the quarterback," wide receiver Jake Stoneburner said after the game. "I don't know how to put that play into words."
The box score certainly doesn't do Miller's artistry justice either, officially marking it down simply: "Miller, Braxton 1 yd run."
He actually retreated as far as the 7-yard line after surprising Carlos Hyde by pulling the football out of his stomach on a play that wasn't meant to have an option component to it, an improvisation that saved the running back from lost yardage and set the table for Miller's fireworks after that.
No fewer than four Nittany Lions had a shot to bring Miller down after he decided to call his own number. With the game still tight, stuffing the Buckeyes in that situation and perhaps forcing a field goal would have kept it a one-score contest for the host Nittany Lions.
Instead, the Buckeyes were energized after a lackluster first half. The defense forced a quick three-and-out to give Miller the ball back again -- and he delivered a more routine 1-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive to stretch the lead and keep the dream of an unbeaten season alive.
"He just does amazing stuff," guard Marcus Hall said then. "He's like a player you'd create in a video game."
One wild yard at a time, Miller helped send the entire team onto the next level of perfection.