Ohio State sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller is expected to start for the Buckeyes on Saturday, after leaving the Buckeyes’ 29-22 overtime victory against Purdue in the third quarter with an apparent head injury.
OSU coach Urban Meyer said Monday that Miller has a sore neck, but that all medical tests on Miller came back negative, and that the team plans for him to practice as he regularly would on Tuesday.
Meyer said that Miller had neck pain when he came off the field, and that his quarterback experienced whiplash.
Miller was the hot topic of discussion during Meyer’s press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Monday, where he also talked about the quarterback who led the Buckeyes to victory on Saturday.
Kenny Guiton steps up
With Miller out of the game following his injury, the Buckeyes called upon redshirt junior quarterback Kenny Guiton to lead them to victory. He did exactly that by leading a game-tying drive at the end of regulation, as well as a game-winning drive in overtime.
Overall, Guiton completed 6-of-11 passes for 77 yards, and threw both a touchdown pass and an interception. Guiton also ran the ball twice for two total yards.
Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said Guiton has improved as a quarterback from last season.
“He’s a lot more accurate,” Herman said. “He’s done a lot better job with his footwork, his arm strength has gotten stronger … the mental side of it had always been there, it’s just a matter of him being engaged and focusing.”
Junior safety Christian Bryant said the team was very happy for Guiton.
“Just seeing so much that he’s been through since he’s been here, and just him finally getting a shot to just prove himself … he showed the world that he’s a real good quarterback,” Bryant said.
Updating the injury report
While Miller is not expected to miss any additional time with his injury, the news was not as good for freshman defensive back Devan Bogard, who had been a staple of the Buckeyes’ kickoff coverage team. Meyer said Bogard suffered a torn ACL, and is out for the season.
Meyer said Bogard is one of his favorite players on the team.
“(Bogard is a) top-five guy on the team,” Meyer said. “He’s a great, great guy … he was getting ready to start getting a little more action as a defensive back too.”
Meyer said he does not think starting redshirt senior outside linebacker Etienne Sabino will be ready to play against Penn State, and as a result, converted senior fullback Zach Boren will continue to play at linebacker on Saturday.
The news was better for freshman linebacker Joshua Perry and junior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown. Meyer said Perry is “ready to go,” and that Brown was “dinged a little bit” but should be ready to play on Saturday.
Evaluating the defense’s progress
One week after the Buckeyes allowed 49 total points to the Indiana Hoosiers, the OSU defense was only responsible for 13 of the 22 points scored by Purdue on Saturday.
Meyer thought the defense made significant improvement versus the Boilermakers.
“I wouldn’t call it great (defense), but we played much better,” Meyer said.
Assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers said the coaching staff challenged the defense to play better, and thought his team accepted the challenge.
“Part of that, accepting the challenge, is preparing better,” Withers said. “I think our guys prepared better, and I think they understood what we were getting from Purdue, and I think they executed well.”
All defense, no offense for champions
Meyer named sophomore outside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who led the Buckeyes with 12 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss against Purdue, as OSU’s defensive player of the week. Meyer said Shazier, who also had a pass breakup, played the “best game that I’ve witnessed him play.”
Meyer said redshirt senior cornerback Travis Howard, redshirt senior defensive end Nathan Williams, senior defensive end John Simon, Bryant, redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby and junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins also graded out as champions for the OSU defense.
No offensive players were recognized as champions for their efforts against Purdue.