Michigan football team gets glimpse of Ohio State QB Braxton Miller's potential
Braxton Miller became Ohio State's first true freshman quarterback to start at Michigan Stadium.
What an introduction it was.
Miller, who preferred the run over the pass for most of the year, had both working against the Wolverines. He finished with 16 carries for 100 yards and one touchdown, and he was 14-of-25 passing for 235 yards and two more touchdowns.
Michigan allowed a season-high 34 points to the Buckeyes, despite entering the game with the country's sixth-best scoring defense and Ohio State's offense sputtering.
It started with Miller.
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
"They did a nice job. You've got to give Ohio credit," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "They did a nice job stretching the field.
"The way they run the ball — and with (Miller's) ability to run and the dual-threat-ness he presents — we got distracted a little bit with our eyes from a technique standpoint, and they were able to hit some."
The Wolverines held Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase to 184 total yards — including just 14 rushing — and sacked him four times three weeks ago. Last week, they held Nebraska's Taylor Martinez to 49 yards rushing on 16 attempts.
Miller, though, abused the Michigan defense for much of the day.
He could make life difficult for Michigan in the coming years, particularly if running quarterback guru Urban Meyer indeed takes over as Ohio State's next coach. The freshman could be a perfect fit for Meyer's system, which won him two national titles at Florida.
Miller is no Denard Robinson in terms of speed or elusiveness. He's not even former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor. In fact, he's most like backup Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, in that he's a big-bodied, physical runner capable of breaking arm tackles.
Miller also had a career-best day passing. It took him only one series to pass for 64 yards, surpassing his total for four complete games this year. He finished with 235 yards passing, a career high by 105 yards. It was just his third 100-yard passing game of the year.
The Michigan defense entered the game with four 40-yard plays against it all year. Miller had two 40-yard passes himself — both for touchdowns.
"I though Miller threw the ball well," Hoke said. "They max protected a bunch, so if you've got four or five guys coming, they could pick it up. That was a good plan for them."
Miller did have one mental lapse at the end of the game, when he spiked the ball in the closing seconds to stop the clock — but also force a fourth down. Then, he went to the sideline, as though it were a timeout.
Ohio State had no timeouts.
The Buckeyes got off a play, but Miller's pass was intercepted by Wolverines nickel back Courtney Avery, and the game was over.