The Ohio State Buckeyes offense performs at its absolute best with Braxton Miller in at quarterback.
Sure, backup Kenny Guiton recently put together a string of extraordinary performances in relief for an injured Miller. However, until he can lead a Division I school to an undefeated 12-0 regular season, the argument for starting Guiton is null and void.
In fact, any insinuation that anybody other than Miller should start under center for the Buckeyes is downright ridiculous.
There’s a reason so many people pegged the junior as the preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy in 2013. Unfortunately, a knee injury derailed those dreams, but Miller and Ohio State’s ultimate goal—winning a BCS title—is still very much intact.
Whether it’s his speed, his arm or his decision-making with the ball, Miller transforms the offense completely when he’s on the field.
He Gives Them Big-Game Experience
From the various glimpses he provided during his freshman campaign in 2011, it was clear that Miller was a special kind of player.
It all came to fruition during the team’s Oct. 29 showdown against then-No. 15 Wisconsin.
In a hard-fought contest, the Buckeyes found themselves trailing 29-26 late in the fourth quarter. After scrambling around, Miller connected on a 40-yard strike to Devin Smith with just 20 seconds remaining in what would prove to be the game-winner.
That was just the beginning.
Since 2012, Miller has an impeccable 14-0 record as a starter. That includes going 4-0 against ranked opponents and recording seven wins by a touchdown or less.
But what’s even more impressive is how he’s played under pressure.
Over 24 career starts, Miller has thrown just 11 interceptions. Furthermore, he has still yet to throw multiple interceptions in a single game.
But of course, no matter what an Ohio State quarterback accomplishes, he’s only as good as his record against hated rival Michigan.
Fortunately, that means Miller has done pretty well for himself thus far.
In two starts (1-1), he’s thrown for 424 yards and three touchdowns (one interception) on 65.1 percent passing while also adding 157 yards and another score on the ground. In fact, Miller’s first 200-yard game came against the Wolverines in 2011.
When the game is on the line, you can count on Miller to deliver.
He Adds More Versatility to the Offense
Nothing is more difficult for an opposing defense than dealing with a mobile quarterback. From read-options to quarterback scrambles, nothing is more frustrating for a defensive coordinator.
Ask any who’ve had the misery of playing against Miller.
In his first full season as the starter last year, Miller excelled. He threw for 2,039 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 1,271 yards and another 13 scores.
Miller demonstrated he could throw the ball, tossing for over 140 yards nine times after accomplishing as much just twice in 2011. That included topping 200 yards on four different occurrences.
But he was most deadly in open space.
Six times Miller ran for over 100 yards in a game. He did so while pulling off dashes of 72, 67, 65, 55 and 42 yards. Miller recorded multiple touchdowns in a game three times.
This dual-threat ability forces opposing defenses to remain honest, making it incredibly difficult to blitz.
Summing It All Up
The Buckeyes are currently nursing the nation’s longest winning streak at 17 games. That’s a streak many like to credit to head coach Urban Meyer.
However, without Miller, it’s very likely that Ohio State would have struggled to win even nine games, let alone 12.
He’s the quarterback who makes the offense tick. When Miller’s at his best, so is the Buckeyes offense.
Thinking to the contrary is laughable.