When the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0) host the No. 21 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1) this Saturday night in Columbus, two of the Big Ten's best quarterbacks will be on display.
Ohio State's Braxton Miller has played phenomenally this year, racking up 1,510 yards of total offense with 15 touchdowns through five games.
Taylor Martinez has been equally impressive for Nebraska, piling up 1,357 total yards to go along with 14 touchdowns.
Both teams rely heavily on their quarterbacks to fuel the offense. When these two teams meet Saturday night, who will have the edge? Which team has the best quarterback?
Let's take a look.
As a passer...
Braxton Miller has been solid. The sophomore quarterback has completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 933 yards with eight touchdowns against three interceptions. His 144.44 quarterback rating is the second highest among Big Ten quarterbacks and he has managed all this with an unproven group of wide receivers.
Taylor Martinez has been surprisingly superb. Despite a throwing motion that would suggest he's angry with his own shoulder, Matinez has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 1,059 yards with 11 touchdowns and just one interception. He also leads the conference with a 169.63 quarterback rating which ranks 12th in all of college football.
The edge goes to:
Taylor Martinez. He has done most of his damage against bad competition, but in the same breath, three of Ohio State's opponents rank 57th or lower in pass defense.
As a runner...
Miller has thrived in Urban Meyer's spread offense. After leading the team in rushing last year, Miller is doing the same this year by a wide margin. The sophomore has run for 577 yards and seven touchdowns, good for 115 yards per game. Against a Michigan State team that was only allowing opponents to run for 69 yards per game, Miller nearly doubled that with 136 yards on the ground against the Spartans.
Martinez hasn't has to run as much as Miller through five games. The junior has run the ball 50 times (40 attempts shy of Braxton) for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Part of his lack of carries is by design, but his numbers also suffer when he's pulled early in blowout victories.
The edge here goes to:
Braxton Miller. The offense/play-calling and his running style make him more of a threat in the open field.
In the clutch...
Miller has been at his best when his team needs him the most. The Buckeyes found themselves in one-possession games against each of their last three opponents. Each time, Ohio State's quarterback made enough plays to lead his team to victory. Braxton has created highlight after highlight during his short time in Columbus, something that should continue as he continues to improve.
Martinez is no slouch, either. Just last week against Wisconsin, Martinez brought his team back from 17 points down to beat the Badgers 30-27. And of course, fans of either team here need no reminder of Nebraska's 21-point comeback against Ohio State last year—a rally that would never have taken place without Martinez's playmaking ability.
The edge here goes to:
Braxton Miller. So far this year, Miller has come through in too many tight situations to vote against him.
With a 2-1 edge, Braxton gets my vote as the better quarterback. Do you agree? Leave your thoughts in the comments section, or continue the conversation with me via Twitter.
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