For the second straight season, Ohio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller has been named the Big Ten Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year.
The Huber Heights, Ohio, native said he has grown this season in his second year on coach Urban Meyer’s offense.
“Just leadership-wise and I actually know what I’m doing with the offense too because it was a new offense and a new coaching staff (last season),” Miller said during an interview on the Big Ten Network Tuesday. “Under coach Meyer and (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom) Herman, it was pretty tough at first but now in my second year in the offense, I’m pretty comfortable with what I’m doing.”
Miller is coming off a regular season in which he threw for 1,759 yards and 21 touchdowns while only being intercepted five times. He also ran for 891 yards and eight touchdowns, good for second on the team and eighth in the Big Ten.
His backfield partner, senior running back Carlos Hyde, leads the team with 1,290 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
But Hyde said after a 34-24 victory against Iowa, during which Miller threw for 222 yards and ran for 102, that Miller has “crazy talent.”
“When Braxton’s running, I’m always expecting a big play. You never know that has unbelievable … crazy talent,” Hyde said. “He can make something … from nothing into something.”
Miller was one of 10 Buckeyes who were named to the All-Big Ten first or second team Monday, being selected first-team by both the coaches and media.
Early in 2013, Miller missed time, sitting out for almost three whole games after sustaining a knee injury in the first quarter against San Diego State Sept. 7. Last season, Miller took home the award after throwing for 2,039 yards and adding 1,271 on the ground.
Penn State redshirt-senior linebacker Stephen Obeng-Agyapong said Oct. 23, before OSU beat Penn State 63-14, that Miller has game-changing talent.
“He can make the play at any time, regardless of if you feel like you got him like, one on one,” Obeng-Agyapong said. “He has the ability to make you miss, so we have to corral the ball when he has it.”
Junior wide receiver Evan Spencer said Nov. 13 having a quarterback that can run and pass like Miller has been something from which the offense has benefits.
“It definitely changes the dynamic. We’re putting up 40-some points a game, so it’s working pretty well for us and his development,” Spencer said. “It’s coming along great … He’s playing really well right now and us as receivers, we’re executing pretty well for him.”
Miller and the Buckeyes will look to continue their undefeated season Saturday when they take on the No. 10 Michigan State Spartans (11-1, 8-0) in the Big Ten Championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:17 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
After pulling out a 42-41 victory against Michigan to complete a second consecutive undefeated regular season, Miller expressed concern about the Spartan defense.
“Watching film, the defense is pretty good,” Miller said. “They play hard, they had a good game plan and I feel like it was the best defense we played all year.”