Cody Cousino / Photo editor
“Is Braxton Miller your starting quarterback right now?”
Direct and straight-forward. Head coach Luke Fickell is sticking with his freshman quarterback project. For now.
Redshirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman started the first three games of the season against Akron, Toledo and Miami. After a poor performance in Miami, Fla., Fickell made the decision to start the true freshman quarterback Miller.
Miller started, and played the majority of the game against Colorado. Once the game was in wraps, Bauserman came in to finish off the game.
On Saturday against Michigan State, Miller took the first snap, but struggled when he was in the game. To start the fourth-quarter down 7-0, Fickell opted to go back to Bauserman for the remainder of the game.
After the game on Saturday, Fickell said Miller was his starting quarterback, but that the team needed to evaluate a lot after the 10-7 loss to MSU.
“We’re going to take a hard look at it, both the quarterback situations and how you run the football,” Fickell said. “There’s a lot of things we’ve got to do that doesn’t put us in a good situation at times but we know we’ve got to be better.”
Bauserman, who accounted for the Buckeyes’ only score on the day, said Miller is still the starting quarterback.
“Braxton (Miller) is still the starter. All we can do is go out, practice hard and give it all we can. Then the coaches can decide,” Bauserman said. “As long as everyone is on the same page and knows which one of us is starting, then we can prepare accordingly.”
Miller finished the day completing only five passes for a total of 56 yards. He had no touchdowns and threw one interception.
“Things were happening fast for him,” Fickell said of his quarterback. “I think maybe he didn’t see the field real well.”
Miller did not have much to say after the game, but did say that this week he will continue to practice hard. Miller said the power of MSU’s defense was one of the reasons for offensive struggles.
“Welcome to the Big Ten, Michigan State has one of the best defenses around,” Miller said.
While a historic matchup awaits the Scarlet and Gray in Lincoln, Neb., Fickell said he wants his quarterbacks to continue to get better.
“We want to see those guys get better. Their confidence level has got to pick up,” Fickell said. “It’s focused on the quarterback, but really we’ve got to focus on the whole entire team.”
Fickell said the decision he and the staff makes about quarterback changes is based on the future of the program.
“We make every decision for what’s best for this program. And it’s not on a week‑to‑week basis,” Fickell said. “We really believe we have to evaluate how we move forward what’s best for the program. There’s no short term.”
Fickell said the loss is mostly on the shoulders of the coach and the quarterback, but he said it is a team game.
“The blame falls on a lot of times on the quarterback and the head coach, and we understand that,” Fickell said. “But we all know that we’ve all got to get better.”
Miller is now 20 of 39 for 291 yards on the season through the air for three touchdowns and two interceptions. Miller also has 39 rushing attempts on the season for 118 yards and has been sacked eight times.
The Buckeyes travel to Lincoln, Neb., next week to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game on Saturday will be Nebraska’s first Big Ten conference home game. It will be an 8 p.m. start televised nationally on ABC.