Each week, Lantern editors Michael Periatt and Andrew Holleran host a podcast, “Inside Buckeye Nation. This week, with No.12 Ohio State set to host No.21 Nebraska Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium, Mike and Andrew delve into the debate of which team has the better quarterback. Which gunslinger – either OSU sophomore Braxton Miller or Nebraska redshirt junior Taylor Martinez – would Mike and Andrew want leading their team?
Mike: If Saturday’s game came down to one matchup – the quarterbacks – would you take Ohio State’s Braxton Miller or Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez?
Andrew: This is tough. Really tough. But I have to go with the more experienced, slightly more accurate passer – at least statistically – Martinez. Who are you taking, Mike?
Mike: I’m taking Miller and I’ll tell you why. I don’t buy that Martinez is more accurate. I get that Martinez has the higher completion percentage, but I think accuracy is more than that. I think if you put a target 20 yards downfield and each quarterback threw 20 balls at it, Miller would hit it more than Martinez. Plus I think Miller is the better athlete.
Andrew: There’s no doubt in my mind that a year or two down the road, Miller will be the better player – probably by far. Right now, though, Miller makes more mistakes – he had three turnovers last week against Michigan State – and that could end up being a problem for OSU. Regarding the accuracy, neither quarterback really takes many shots downfield, and despite Martinez’s near-laughable throwing motion, he’s the Big Ten’s most efficient passer.
Mike: I think Wisconsin was dead on when they compared Martinez’s throwing motion to skipping rocks. Honestly, you know who it reminds me of? Terrelle Pryor. They both had throwing motions uglier than Shawn Marion’s jump shot, but somehow it’s functional. That being said Miller really doesn’t have a history of turning the ball over. He has a 21-7 interception-to-turnover ratio on his career. Let me ask you this though. Can Martinez perform under pressure? The ‘Shoe is going to be rocking Saturday.
Andrew: That’s really the question, Mike. Martinez hasn’t had that signature performance on the road while leading his team to victory. You could say the same thing about Miller, too, though. Yes, Miller played very well last week, but like I pointed out earlier, you can’t turn the ball over three times in a game and hope to win consistently. Neither quarterback can afford to have a bad game Saturday night, and I don’t think either one will. Martinez will be better, though, paving the way for the Huskers to spoil OSU’s homecoming game.
Mike: Remember Martinez’s freshman year when Bo Pelini lost his mind and chewed him out on national TV? There were reports circling that Martinez was going to leave the team, and that’s not the last time the quarterback and coach have had issues. To me, the topsy-turvy relationship shows that maybe Martinez isn’t the most level headed player in the world. I’m just not convinced he can handle the crazy environment and the pressure he’ll undoubtedly face Saturday. Unless you count beating Penn State last year as an impressive road win (I don’t) you have to go all the way back to 2010 – when Martinez was a freshman and Nebraska was still in the Big 12 – to find an impressive road win from the Cornhuskers (they beat No. 14 Oklahoma State). Until I see Martinez win a big road game, I won’t believe it. Of course, he has the opportunity to show me and the rest of the nation something Saturday.
Andrew: That he does. The quarterback who performs better Saturday will likely vault themselves into being the favorite for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and who knows, maybe into the Heisman discussion. It’ll be a fun one to watch, that’s for sure.