The Braxton Express has left the station. Final destination Heisman Trophy? That remains to be seen, but week one’s contest left much to be pondered.
Urban Meyer must have reminded Miller just how dynamic of an athlete he truly is. After rushing the ball just four times for a pedestrian eleven yards, Miller made his presence known in the second half with his feet. On the Buckeye’s second drive of the second half, Miller ran the ball four times, picking up a crucial fourteen yard rush which extended the drive en route to a touchdown. On the Buckeye’s opening drive of the fourth, Braxton stole the show with a dazzling, zigzagging, 41 yard pickup. Later in the drive he also had an impressive sixteen yard gain to put the Buckeyes in field goal range. the 66 second half rushing yards represent the Braxton Miller that fans hope to see every week. But the Braxton Express wouldn’t be complete without some throwing highlights. Miller completed his first seven passes of the game, two of which were touchdowns. The box score shows that Braxton completed an impressive 68% of his passes. But that doesn’t tell the whole story, which leads us to…
68% completion percentage and two touchdowns, the box score shows there’s not much to complain about. The video says a different story though. Miller had numerous overthrows and didn’t look completely comfortable in the pocket until the second half. Even on his impressive 47 yard touchdown connection with Devin Smith, Smith had to change his route to get under the ball. As mentioned earlier, Braxton’s first half rushing performance left much to be desired. Four carries for eleven yards would be fine if the Buckeye’s were built around a pro-style, pocket passing, quarterback; but all the Braxton Miller hype has been centered around his explosive running to go along with his cannon arm. That cannon will need to be focused more on Buckeyes than Bulls, as Buffalo’s Khalil Mack returned a 45 yard pick six, nearly letting the Bulls back in the game.
Final Verdict? Good but not great. The fact that we are any bit disappointed with a 255 yard game (passing + rushing) is a testament to the talent we know Braxton has and the expectations we expect him to live up to. With a full, normal depth chart returning next week (including starting tailback Carlos Hyde) Miller should be at his full potential in no time. Expect many more fireworks like what we saw in the second half, as the Braxton Express will keep the OSU offense chugging along.