After the debacle in Miami last Saturday -- which included a 2 for 14 passing performance from starter Joe Bauserman -- it's finally Miller Time -- as in Braxton Miller.
Coach Luke Fickell confirmed Miller, the true freshman QB, will get his first career start against Colorado, but much to the dismay of most Buckeye fans, added that Bauserman will also see action.
If the Buckeyes can survive the next two games (CU, MSU), this team will still have a chance to be pretty good, and yes, still compete for the Leaders Division crown and the Big Ten Championship -- but it's time to pick a starting QB (not named Bauserman) and stick with him (Miller) for the remainder of the season.
There will be growing pains, so Buckeye fans will need to show some patience with Miller if and when he makes freshman mistakes, but just remember, this move will allow Miller to gain invaluable experience, which should pay huge dividends for OSU in 2012.
Brief Game Outlook
Ohio State is now 2-1, while Colorado is 1-2.
In 2008, freshman-phenom Terrelle Pryor replaced senior Todd Boeckman after an ugly road loss, and led the Buckeyes to a 10-2 regular season record and the Big Ten title.
We can only hope, with Miller replacing Bauserman, that it's deja-vu all over again.
Besides QB Miller, RBs Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall, and TE Jake Stoneburner are the players to keep an eyes on when the Buckeyes have the ball.
To date, Miller has seen limited action, but thus far has completed 10/16 passes for 152 yards with one touchdown and one interception and has also gained 62 yards on the ground -- Hyde and Hall have rushed for 223 and 87 yards respectively and Hyde has two scores -- and Stoneburner has eight catches for 93 yards and four touchdowns.
The Buckeye defense and the O-line are the team co-MVP's at this point and each unit should shine once again this week -- the defense in limiting Colorado's offensive output and scoring opportunities -- and the O-line in giving Miller time to pass and the running backs wide-lanes to run through.
Ultimately, the end-result will depend on how well Miller settles in and protects the ball once he gets past the anxiety and the butterflies he's sure to feel as he makes his first career start in front of 105,000 insane Buckeye fans.
Ohio State has better athletes across the board and is by far the superior team on paper on both sides of the ball.
That being said, there's no denying that this team is very young and while 2011 is not a complete rebuilding year, Colorado could keep it close and make a game of it -- well, for awhile anyway...
Ohio State—Colorado History Lesson
• Ohio State is 3-1 all-time vs. Colorado.
• Ohio State is 66-7 in Ohio Stadium since 2001.
• Ohio State is 42-8 vs. non-conference foes since 2001.
• Ohio State is 55-26-2 all-time vs. current Pac-12 member schools.
• Ohio State is 7-2 at home all-time vs. non-conference foes in the BCS era.
• Ohio State defense has held opponent to fewer than 10 points 30 times since 2006.
• Ohio State's defense has allowed just five 100-yard rushers in their last 37 games.
• Ohio State's defense has allowed just one 100-yard rusher in the past 24 games at Ohio Stadium.
• Ohio State has won 56 consecutive regular-season non-conference home games against teams not ranked in the AP Top 25.
• Colorado is 1-3 all-time vs. Ohio State (1971-Win, 1977-Loss, 1985-Loss, 1986-Loss).
• Colorado is 0-6 in road games vs. non-conference BCS opponents since 2005.
• Colorado is 1-5 in road games the week after facing CSU since 1997.
• Colorado is 14-36 against BCS conference teams since 2006.
Final Thoughts and Score Prediction
Miller has been compared to both Terrelle Pryor and Troy Smith for his ability to scramble when pressured, like Pryor, and deliver the ball accurately down field when under pressure, like Smith.
Miller is no-doubt a talented dual-threat quarterback that could potentially surpass the accomplishments of both Pryor and Smith, but if he wants to remain the starting QB for Ohio State, he must make protecting the football priority No. 1.
Priority No. 2 is getting the ball into the hands of his backs and receivers.
Priority No. 3 is to tuck the ball and run if the receivers are covered, or just do as Bauserman did all-too-often and aim for B-deck -- but please, please, please, whatever happens -- hang on to the football!
Ohio State 33
"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson
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