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Posted on Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

Michigan football team gets glimpse of Ohio State QB Braxton Miller's potential

By Kyle Meinke

Braxton Miller became Ohio State's first true freshman quarterback to start at Michigan Stadium.

What an introduction it was.

The Michigan football team shackled running quarterbacks in each of its two previous games, but struggled to slow the Buckeyes' freshman in its 40-34 win Saturday at the Big House.

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.


Ohio State freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was solid against Michigan, rushing for 100 yards and passing for 235.

Joseph Tobianski |

"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.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

Fear not Buckeye fans. A Michigan win happens as often as Haley's Comet!


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

You didn't say that when John Cooper was your coach. If I were you, I'd stew in disappointment for the year until ohio has the opportunity to redeem itself. I'm saying it's just an opportunity, not a lock. Now that the former coach is gone along with his god awful 3-3-5 defense, you'll see Michigan dominate once again. Just remember one thing, UM (Urban Meyer) has never beaten Michigan with his spread offense and even with his All- Universe quarterback. So stew in your disappointment for at least another year. It's been 2,928 days sins ohio beat Michigan with eligible players.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

With Miller and Meyer next year the game should be another cliffhanger. But, Mattison and Hoke will be ready for Miller after seeing what he can do. Another hard fought victory for the maise and blue.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

Many times out of adversity, somethig good happens. Braxton is on heck of a football player. That kid had receiver that her over threw...that would have been the differenc in the game. He WILL be one of the really good ones. Their is only one thing the Buckeyes are missing in regards, solid running game. U-M does have one advantage against Miller....they pratice against Denard Robinson. If Urban takes the job. He will bring something too the table long forgotten at OSU...Personal Pride. Not personl advancment


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

Does anyone realize how close we came to losing to a terrible ohio team? There wasn't anyone within 5 yards of their WR on their last drive.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

I also realize the game went down to the last play. That's Michigan's best team in ten years against OSU's worst team in 10 years. A sobering thought indeed.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:22 a.m.

Plenty of us realize how close the game was. Ohio State is not a "terrible" team. Herron was out for a portion of the season as was Posey. Both were back for the Michigan game. The OSU team that took the field on Saturday was more complete than for many previous games, and they were playing with an intensity not seen earlier in the year. What's your point? Honestly. Is it that some of the enthusiasm should be tempered?

1st Down

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:47 a.m.

Miller is already better than Terelle Pryor ever was. Pryor never played as well when he was at Ohio, then Miller did on Saturday.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 8:57 a.m.



Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:31 a.m.

Miller is much more elusive then Gardner, but not quite as DR, but not to far off. I will say that meyer started to lose more games at Florida when he started to lose his assistants to head coaching gigs. Right now Hoke staff is great and meyer does not worry me to much with a Defense that mattison brings. Go BLUE


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

That and he lost his go-to bruising running back, who just happened to be his QB as well.

Robert D. Mosley

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:24 a.m.

Yes, it looks like Meyer is going to ohio, but it also looks like he will be going ther with some bitterness according to fans in Columbus who say Fickell is getting a bad deal and shown utter disloyalty by ohio. I agree that Meyer and Miller will be formidable, but we still have Denard for one more year and Gardner I believe has just as much upside as Miller in my book. In recruiting, Meyer himself said that Mattison is the best recruiter that he had ever worked with and he is our guy. Hoke also is a tremendous recruiter and I do not think that Meyer can close the deal like Tressel did now that we no longer have RichRod who just did not understand Michigan tradition. Hoke has an excellent relationship as well with the state of Ohio coaches and we will get our share of players. Lastly, I think the win yesterday and the love for Hoke and what he is building is spreading. So, have no fear of Miller so long as we have Denard and Devin for the next two and maybe three years of Michigan football.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:08 a.m.

I never liked Pryor, mostly because he seemed a "me-first" type of athlete and partly because he was at Ohio. But what impressed me about his play is that he glided through defenses even though he didn't look particularly fast or powerful. Miller looked just like that yesterday, and his throwing was fine for a frosh. If he had been more accurate, we would have lost, but if Denard were more accurate, we would have beaten Michigan State and Iowa, so it goes both ways. Part of the game. Miller's arms look powerful in that picture above, especially for a first year player, and he looks to be type of guy who will give us headaches for 4 years. Hopefully not!! Even though I don't think our schedule was tough, I still think Hoke did an outstanding job in his first year not just by won-loss but by the re-focus on Ohio, on MSU, on defense, and on fundamentals. He honored previous Michigan teams quite publicly. respected the seniors, and disciplined well. He is almost like an old school coach in those regards, just perfect for what we at Michigan need and want. All about character, not flash. Not all the play calls were perfect (fourth and one at MSU for example), but you don't hear excuses. Congrats on first year success and here's to many more. I hope Meyer doesn't go to Ohio, but not because of fear, but because he is too much a "me-first" type of coach and I don't like that type of guy. (Sort of like Petrino or our old coach). I like a guy like Fickell even if he didn't quite have the results that Ohio fans want this year. If Meyer comes into the B10, so be it and Michigan will be just fine. But I wouldn't count on Meyer for the long haul.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

Tulsa Tom, How ironic is that both coaches from that weird 67-65 game have been fired? GO BLUE!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 8:59 a.m.

Amen DonAZ, amen.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

weird = embarrassing ... stupidest football game of all time.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

Our offense will need a major overhauling if we're to keep up with Meyer and His Merry Men of Mayhem. Speed on offense is everything, and we'll get a whopping dose of it next year in Columbus.

Tony Dearing

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

A comment was removed because it violated our conversation guidelines. Please do not post comments in all caps. Thanks.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 10:11 p.m.

You don't think Denard is fast?


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Take note of Will Muschamp's concerns about the Florida football team: &quot;His biggest frustration seemed to be Florida's inability to operate a power running game between the tackles. Running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey are two of the smallest full-time backs in the SEC and the Gators have the third-smallest offensive line in the conference. In the first four games, against inferior opponents, the Gators were able to use Rainey and Demps in perimeter runs and dominate. Once they met up with teams like Alabama and LSU, that stopped working.&quot; See what I mean? Nobody is as fast as Jeff Demps, not even Denard Robinson. Chris Rainey is no slouch either. But SPEED ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH. And what's that talk about SIZE OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE? Hmmm?


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

Forced to choose between speed on defense or speed on offense, I'd take speed on defense. All else equal that wins more ballgames, I think. Did you watch the Florida / FSU game last night? Absolutely crazy, lights-out play on defense by both teams. Big, strong and fast defensive linemen getting into the backfield play after play. Ditto LSU. Ditto Alabama. Speed *is* good ... provided it's balanced with appropriate size and strength. Speed for speed's sake is ... Jeff Demps at Florida. Okay if he gets free. Otherwise, it doesn't take much to stop him.


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

BTW, hey Kyle, I was watching the post game conference with the coach and players and noticed you in between the changes when you stood up and were sporting a beard. What's up with that my man? Do you get any of your daily blueberry muffins caught in that thing? ROFL! Sorry buddy, I had to bust you chops about it and also, how come your profile pic doesn't have an update?

Kyle Meinke

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:57 a.m.

Mick, the problem is I always get so distracted by my morning muffin that I forget to shave. I'm sure you can understand. Those things are so tasty!


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 11:59 p.m.

*your chops


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

Thanks D21 for posting that article on the WCIMFH, he is so delusional it's not even funny, &quot;those are all my guys&quot;? Are you kidding me? A few quick little facts: the 5th year Seniors were recruited by Carr, many of the true Freshman committed to Hoke, also, many of the guys on the roster were coming to U-M no matter what because they love Michigan, it's a byproduct of recruiting in AA. So his &quot;my guys&quot; comment is as absurd as his supposed coaching ability, he needs to keep quiet and concentrate on what he has to do in Tucson, we're just fine now in AA, especially without him. As for Meyer and Miller the QB, ohio played out of their minds yesterday because they were playing M, if they had shown that kind of effort and ability in their previous games, they would have a better than 6-6 record. Next year Hoke and Staff will have a lot more film on him to study, so we shall see how that plays out. Meyer, I ain't worried about him, I think Hoke is a better coach with a better Staff. We will have supreme talent too and with more time with the players, can you imagine how much better we will be on the field? Look what these guys did in the short amount of time they had already this year. So many people talk about the 2nd year of a coach's tenure as being indicative of the potential of a program, well we didn't have to wait that long.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 6:42 a.m.

@Tulsa &amp; D21, thanks gentleman for your kind words and support. I remember last year when the 3 of us as well as many others like Ghost, 1st Down, Blu n tpa, HeartbreakM, DonAZ, AzWolverine, Jaysham, RudeJude, GoBlueN_PA and many others who had to band together and set people straight about the whole coaching change. I'm really, really glad our opinions not only prevailed but were proven so accurate that the results on the field validated that outlook.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

Mick the San Diegan, The RR fan club keep nagging us not to bring RR up while denying the fact that RR is still making headlines with his obsession with Michigan. Go to the Detroit Free Press website as this site keeps blacklisting my freep links. Good one as usual, Mick. Wow, what an exciting and fruitful season for the football team and the coaching staff without the &quot;All About Meeeeee&quot; nonsense :)


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

Good post and insights, Mick. I think U-M probably would've been 8-4 or 7-5 this year under RR because it would've probably been a repeat of last year with lots of offense and a porous defense with a new defensive coach selected from the &quot;Rent -a- Defensive coordinator&quot; Club instead of a great coach like Mattison. RR didn't seem to put much emphasis on defense and this will be his undoing at Arizona also unless his mindset changes. You can't compete for championships playing in 67-65 and 50-47 ballgames on a regular basis.


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 11:12 p.m.

Clicked a bit too early to post this one up above. Notice how RR hasn't given Hoke and his staff any credit or recognition except to moan and whine how it is frustrating for him despite getting a nice undeserved gig at Zona U which clearly shows he is unable to move on. Hoke Is It GO BLUE


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:13 a.m.

azwolverine Good one :)


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.

Az, why do you still talk about RR? He has been gone from the program for almost a year. Give it a rest, forget about him and move on.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

No, I shouldn't have to...he should give credit publicly when asked IF he's going to give it. He had a chance on the radio and on that CBS Sports show he was on and he never gave credit. So, if he did give credit, it wasn't publicly when asked about it and given the chance...unlike Hoke who HAS given PUBLIC credit to RR for his hard work and dedication to UM while he was here. Hoke's a character guy, though.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

Are you sure he hasn't given Hoke any credit? Have you been monitoring his phones and emails?


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

Yeah, heard him on local radio down here in AZ. When asked about UM's success, he said he wasn't surprised because he expected UM to win 9-11 games this year with him as coach anyway. I just laughed and thought, &quot;Really? With what defense?&quot; Also, in the post game press conference yesterday, the players gushed about how they love (yes, love) Hoke and how he's really pulled the team together this season both fundamentally and mentally. RR may have recruited many of these players, but he didn't know what to do with them when they got here. Hoke did. The previous coach just can't/won't acknowledge that Hoke did what he himself couldn't do. Even if he won't acknowledge it, and won't say 'good job', then don't say anything and certainly don't take credit for the job Hoke and his staff did. That's lame. Also, during the interview, he said that the players he inherits at Arizona are now his players and he doesn't like it when coaches get to a school and say the players don't fit with that new coach's schemes. You have to work with the players you have. I couldn't believe my ears...not that I cared that much. I just rejoiced further in the fact that he is gone from UM and we now have a coach that totally 'gets it' and knows how to win against B10 heavyweights.


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

Meyer will be a good coach and Miller will be an outstanding QB for them. The rivalry will be intense, as it should be. Overall, if the B10 truly wants to be regarded as the best conference in the land, then coaches like Meyer, Hoke, Bielema, Pelini, etc running top-notch programs that can beat all comers is what we need. We don't want a watered down product, we want to be the best from top to bottom...and we want the UM/Ohio rivalry to remain the best in all of sport. So, as much as I would like to see Ohio suck, this will be good for both Michigan and the B10. Besides, I want Michigan to beat Ohio at their best.


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

Maybe Hoke should do what Bo did; in preparation for each game, use a particular play that can be used against ohio.


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

Miller is going to be a good one -- there's no doubt about that. However, Saturday was U-M's and Denard's time to shine. If Urban Meyer takes over at OSU, U-M's task of beating them will be more difficult but not impossible. While Urban Meyer is a great coach who also recruits well, keep in mind that Brady Hoke also recruits well and is a fine coach, too. I also remember U-M beating Meyer in a bowl game around 5 or 6 years ago in Lloyd Carr's last game coaching for U-M. The intensity level of this rivalry is about to go up a few notches and it will be fun to watch. Ohio is a bigger state and has the edge in high school talent to choose from so U-M needs to continue to recruit well in the Buckeye state. Recruiting well in Ohio serves two purposes -- it builds up U-M and keeps some top players out of the hands of OSU. What I am concerned about is the ability of Meyer to land some top prospects out of the state of Florida to compliment his strong Ohio recruiting base. It will present a big challenge for U-M but I look for Brady Hoke to be up to the challenge and hold his own with them.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 10:16 p.m.

Trading the Toledo Strip for the UP was great for the state but not for football.


Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 10:21 p.m.

Meyer will get some Florida talent, but not a lot. The SEC vacuums up the top talent out of that state. No matter how good a recruiter Meyer is it's just hard to get Florida players to leave the SEC spotlight and the warmth and sunshine of the south for the Big 10 and the cold and dreary north. On a separate note ... Hoke can match Meyer's Florida connections with his own California connections. Plus, let's not forget that Mattison was DC for Meyer in Florida, and Borges has connections with Alabama.