Braxton Miller: Ohio State's Perfect Season Hopes Hinge on Star QB's Health

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13:  Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs for a touchdown during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes have built their team around one player in 2012, Braxton Miller. So, it's simple really. If Braxton Miller doesn't play, then Ohio State won't run the table this fall.

The sophomore quarterback went out of Saturday's overtime win over Purdue after being thrown to the turf on the end of a big run. According to via The Associated Press, Miller is "doing fine" after being hospitalized and tested for a concussion, among other injuries.

A Heisman Trophy favorite, Miller has been the beginning and end for Ohio State's offense under Urban Meyer this season.

Miller has accounted for 2,343 total yards and 21 total touchdowns in eight games this season, earning praise from even the hard-to-impress Skip Bayless via Twitter:

Braxton Miller's injury looks bad. Terrible loss: Most exciting player in the country. God bless him in his recovery.

— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 20, 2012

But Bayless is right on the money with his assessment of Miller as the country's most electrifying talent. Against all odds, somehow, Miller has managed to create buzz around the Buckeyes, a team banned from competing in the postseason this winter.

With road games at Penn State and at Wisconsin as well as a season-ending clash with bitter rival Michigan still left on Ohio State's schedule this fall, Miller must be healthy enough to play in order for Meyer's magic to continue in Columbus. 

Sure, backup quarterback Kenny Guiton absolutely should be credited for his brilliance down the stretch for the Buckeyes against Purdue. Just ask ESPN's College GameDay:

Kenny Guiton could run for Mayor in Columbus right now and win. The backup QB just lead the Buckeyes to an amazing comeback win in OT.

— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 20, 2012

Still, despite his heroics, he doesn't boast the versatility and game-changing aura that Miller does. That presence will be required in Happy Valley and Madison this fall.

The Buckeyes have won twice on the road this season, but only by a combined four points. Meanwhile, Penn State has won five in a row after starting the year 0-2, and Wisconsin is in the driver's seat in the Big Ten Leaders division. If Ohio State is to have any hope of surviving those two games and finishing the year a perfect 12-0, it will need its eventual Heisman Trophy finalist on the field, and 100 percent healthy. 

Ohio State's vaunted rushing attack depends on who else, but Braxton Miller. Miller is the Buckeyes' leading rusher this season and is averaging a remarkable 6.8 yards per carry through eight games.

If Miller can't play, or perform to the best of his ability, then Ohio State's offense will be forced to rely on junior running back Carlos Hyde. Hyde certainly isn't a scrub, but again, he isn't a lethal dual-threat playmaker like Miller.

The Buckeyes' have been a one-man show since September 1, and if they are to run the table and finish 12-0 this November, they will need to remain a one-man show. 

After all, its better to have one superstar than none.


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