COLUMBUS: For anyone who questions the value of quarterback Braxton Miller, don’t.
The junior quarterback showed his worth, battling cramps for most of the second half in Saturday’s game with the Buffalo Bulls. But it’s his overall game that showed the most.
Miller spent most of the afternoon patiently waiting in the pocket checking each route on a given play. Nowhere to be seen was the scrambling ability for which he’s probably best known.
After a goal line stand by his defense, Miller took to the ground to gain yardage and kill precious time. On third and seven from the OSU five-yard line, he broke free for a 40-yard run to get the Buckeyes out of a hole.
Several plays later, in another third and long, he rushed 16 yards to put OSU at the Buffalo 27. The drive eventually ended in a field goal.
“I saw the same thing you did,” coach Urban Meyer said, “that when we needed a couple of plays, he had a couple of big ones for us,” he said.
Miller took the game on his shoulders.
“I had to,” he said. “Everybody was covered up with our routes and everything. They wasn’t keying me so it was a wide-open gap. I’m going to take that.”
Meyer said that Miller as much as anyone was responsible for the field goal.
“Quarterbacks have to do that,” he said. “It’s their job description to get us out of a jam and be a great player and at times he looked like that today.”
Capable running back
Running back Jordan Hall posted a career-high 159 yards on 21 carries and added two touchdowns for the day. The TD runs came on runs of 49 and 37 yards respectively.
He certainly showed Meyer what he was capable of doing and it will certainly strengthen the running back corps whenever Carlos Hyde returns from suspension.
“I think he gives us a little bit of the hybrid guy that can [run and receive]. Once we have a full stable back, he’s still going to be certainly involved,” Meyer said. “And to be able to line up at receiver and motion in and run the ball, that’s a good weapon to have.”
“More weapons in the machinery.”
Aggressive Urban: If there’s any doubt about the change in mentality at Ohio State from the Jim Tressel years, consider the fact that coach Urban Meyer went for two points after the Buckeyes first two touchdowns.
Meyer said he viewed it as a way to make other teams have to work when planning for the Buckeyes.
This is the very first time the Buckeyes and Buffalo Bulls met on the football field. After Saturday’s victory OSU’s record against the Mid-American Conference stands at 29-1. They’ve played a MAC school every year at Ohio Stadium since 1997, the lone exception coming in 2009 when they played the Toledo Rockets at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Cousins Devin Smith, a wide receiver from Massillon, and Doran Grant, a cornerback who played for St. Vincent-St. Mary, both had decent days Saturday. Smith grabbed three passes for 61 yards including a 47-yard touchdown on the Buckeyes’ opening drive. Grant started at cornerback for the Buckeyes Saturday. He finished with 4.5 tackles and two passes broken up.
Representatives of the GoDaddy Bowl were on hand at Ohio Stadium to more than likely get a look at the Bulls as a possible entry to their post-season game.
The Buckeyes extended their nation-leading winning streak to 13 games. … They also have opened the season with a win every year since 2000 and are 33-2 in season openers the past 35 years.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.