Braxton Miller’s stellar performance dooms Penn State

By Stephen Pianovich

Most quarterbacks can’t take over a half with only three completions.

Most quarterbacks aren’t Braxton Miller.

The Ohio State sophomore signal-caller torched Penn State’s defense with option reads and accounted for three second-half touchdowns as the Buckeyes pulled away from Penn State in the final 30 minutes. All told, Miller had 277 total yards (134 rushing, 143 passing) to go along with his three scores.

“He can go anywhere,” linebacker Mike Hull said. “He can take it right up the gut, he can bounce it outside. He’s just a good player.”

Miller’s health was a concern entering the contest. Last week against Purdue, Miller was taken to the hospital after his head hit the ground harshly when he was taken down awkwardly.

The injury didn’t seem to affect Miller, but the Nittany Lions were able to hold him in check in the first half. Miller looked out of sync with his receivers and was kept out of the endzone before halftime.

The second half was a different story.

Miller’s signature play of the game was on his first touchdown. On an option read, Miller fooled most of the stadium by pulling back a handoff to running back Carlos Hyde.

Fans cheered and music even started to play as it looked Penn State kept the Buckeyes out of the endzone. But in fact it was Miller who still had the rock and he danced his way around defenders to give Ohio State a double-digit lead.

“That was crazy,” Ohio State wideout Jake Stoneburner said of the play. “I’ve never seen a quarterback be able to do something like that, let alone most athletes. The sideline was just in just in awe, like everyone was covering their mouth, eyes wide open, I’ve never seen a play like that from a quarterback.”

Miller was only 7-of-19 passing, and he started off the second half with an interception. And though he did not have much success through the air, but he didn’t need to with what he was able to accomplish with his feet.

However, he did deliver the nail in the coffin with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Stoneburner to put Ohio State ahead by 19 points with about six minutes remaining.

Penn State did have recent success against other dual-threat quarterbacks in games against Illinois and Northwestern, but Miller got the best of the team’s defense. After the contest, coach Bill O’Brien called him one of the top five players in the country.

“We stopped him at times and other times we obviously didn’t,” O’Brien said. “So we have to go back and watch the tape and see again what we can do better to stop a player like that.”

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