UAB at Ohio State: Braxton Miller Misused by Urban Meyer, Still Leads OSU to Win

Adam Jacobi@Adam_JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterSeptember 22, 2012

With 1:50 left in the first half, quarterback Braxton Miller juked, spun and dove his way to a 12-yard Ohio State touchdown. It gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game at 14-12, and the team would lead the rest of the way in a 29-15 victory.

It was also Braxton Miller's first rush of the entire game.  

All in all, Braxton Miller—one of the two most exciting rushers in the Big Ten alongside Denard Robinson—totaled just 11 rushes for 64 yards and two touchdowns on the day. The yardage is fine, given the usage. The two touchdowns are great.

The 11 rushes, however, are inexcusably low.

Look, Jordan Hall reestablished himself as the Buckeyes' top running back with 17 carries for 105 yards, and that was nice to see. Ohio State needs that. And Miller was serviceable throwing the ball, going 12 of 20 for 143 yards and no interceptions.

Plain and simple, Braxton Miller is the best athlete on the Ohio State team. He's the best rusher. He's the biggest of the big-play threats. He is what makes that offense go.

And Urban Meyer needs to take better advantage of those facts.

It's not as if Meyer had the luxury of keeping Miller under wraps because of the competition. OK, so Alabama-Birmingham isn't very good. But the Blazers certainly gave Ohio State a heck of a game, and even with 11 minutes to play, UAB had the ball in Ohio State territory with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown.

That drive fizzled, obviously, since we're talking about a Buckeyes win. And Ohio State responded with a backbreaking touchdown drive, featuring three Braxton Miller rushes for 26 yards, including the touchdown that put the game out of reach with five minutes left. Oh, and Miller scored the two-point conversion as well. That's what he gives you.

But it should have never come to that. 

A coach as good as Urban Meyer is certainly smart enough to know that lightening players' workloads in the early going for the sake of future wins doesn't make much sense if it means you're not in good position to win those early games. And make no mistake, Ohio State spent most of that game in trouble.

During the vast majority of the time that Ohio State was in trouble with its offense sputtering, Braxton Miller was either standing still or handing off.

That's hardly a coincidence.