Ohio State Football: Urban Meyer Should Rest Braxton Miller Against Penn State

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Ohio State Football: Urban Meyer Should Rest Braxton Miller Against Penn State
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Ohio State should consider resting Braxton Miller this weekend as the Buckeyes take on Penn State at University Park.

Miller was injured in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Purdue. After a 40-yard run, Miller was thrown to the turf by Purdue corner Josh Johnson, hitting his head in what looked like a nasty concussion.

Ohio State ended up winning the game in overtime on a game-tying drive from backup quarterback Kenny Guiton.

Miller was later examined at the hospital, where it was determined he “showed absolutely no symptoms of anything,” reported Tim Bielik of The Morning Journal.

Braxton Miller has been an essential part of this Buckeye offensive attack.

He’s thrown for 1,384 yards, 11 TDs and five interceptions in eight games. His outstanding season has him in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy, a reward that would mean so much to a team banned from bowls this year.

While an undefeated Ohio State team will not be participating in a postseason bowl, does that mean Ohio State should shoot for the Heisman with Braxton Miller? Not necessarily.

The hit Miller took in the Purdue game was nasty. He laid motionless for a good 15 seconds and resembled a 90-year-old man trying to find the sofa when he was escorted off the field.

Concussions are nothing to mess with, and it’s hard to believe Miller was “symptom free” when arriving at the hospital.

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"I think it's (his) head and that concerns all of us," said Urban Myer in a press conference after last weekend’s game.

Why not rest Miller against Penn State on Saturday?

This is a very different Penn State team than we’ve seen in the past.

Their signature win of the season came against an undefeated Northwestern team at State College.

With Miller coming off the third-quarter hit, it wouldn’t be practical to have him face a Penn State defense whose linebackers have seriously pressured opposing quarterbacks.

Freshman linemen Anthony Zettel and Deion Barnes have three sacks each on the season, while the team averages about 2.6 sacks per game.

This is a team that lives and dies by their rush defense. Ranked 21st in the country in rush yards per game, to send Braxton Miller into the Penn State linebacker core would be detrimental.

Ohio State proved last weekend they could win without their versatile quarterback.

Backup Kenny Guiton was given the reigns in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, faced with a 20-14 deficit.

After a rough start to the quarter that included a pick, Guiton led his team to a game-winning drive in the last minute of the game.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Guiton throwing a pass against Eastern Michigan during the 2010 season.

Penn State’s pass defense is not as strong as their rush defense. Playing Guiton in place of Miller would allow Ohio State to challenge the Penn State corners who have yet to record an interception on the season.

Ohio State has had a very impressive season thus far, but for them to risk injury to their star quarterback doesn’t make sense.

In a year where a BCS Bowl is an impossibility, rest Miller for Saturday’s game as a precaution and a strategic move. 

 

Prediction

Ohio State will win big against Penn State at University Park on Saturday.

Look for Braxton Miller to be more conservative in the pocket and throw the ball more than his average 22 throws per game.

If Urban Myer chooses to err on the side of caution and start Guiton, Penn State’s Stephon Morris, DaQuan Davis and Adrian Amos won’t have enough at corner to stop the pass.

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