Two years. Two Silver Footballs.
Ohio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller’s trophy case is getting quite full.
Miller received his second consecutive Chicago Tribune Silver Football — an award given annually to the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player — during a timeout of the OSU men’s basketball game against Northwestern Wednesday.
“I cherish things like that, man. They don’t come too easy,” Miller said after receiving the award. “First three years was rough. Two different offensive playbooks, coaches switching in and out. But I just kept my mind straight, just played my game and things like this come upon. Just blessed. I walked past the board the other day, and my name’s right under Troy Smith’s and I texted him and I’m like, ‘Check this out. Man, I’m right behind you, man.’ He said, ‘That’s a good look so keep it up.’”
Miller — who was named the Big Ten’s MVP Dec. 12 — became just the fourth player in conference history to win the award twice, and the first repeat winner in 24 years.
Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein presented the award to Miller Wednesday, mentioning that he was one of four players to win the award in back-to-back years.
“Nobody has ever won it three times, so congrats on the two-peat and good luck on the three-peat,” Greenstein joked.
Miller threw for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2013, while rushing for an additional 1,068 yards and 12 scores. His 3,162 individual all-purpose yards this season were third-most among all Big Ten players in 2013.
“I am incredibly proud of Braxton,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said in a Dec. 12 press release. “To be one of only four players to win this award twice is a testament to the exceptional young man we have quarterbacking the Buckeyes.”
OSU’s quarterback announced he would return to Columbus for his senior season Jan. 9, after leading the Buckeyes to 24 straight wins as part of back-to-back 12-win seasons in 2012 and 2013.
“I just sat down with the coaches and just observed everything, made sure we were making the right decision. We went over everything and it wasn’t too hard of a decision. At first I was thinking heavy about everything that was going on at the time: Orange Bowl, Big Ten Championship Game, National Championship Game. But after everything settled down, I made the right decision with the coaches,” Miller said Wednesday about his decision to come back.
Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman was on hand to see Miller get his second Silver Football, and Herman said he is more proud of his quarterback for this one rather than the one last year because of how he’s developed as a passer.
“I think this one meant a lot more knowing what he had gone through to improve his overall game. I think he won it the year before, he was the starting quarterback of an undefeated team, played well, made a lot of plays but I think this year he won it for being a quarterback,” Herman said Wednesday. “That was important for him and important for us to take the necessary steps to improve offensively. He’s on a really good trajectory of improvement right now and that makes me proud, probably more proud of this one than the first one because of how he won it and what he had to do to win it.”
Despite the 24 straight wins, the Buckeyes only have a pair of Big Ten Leaders Division Titles to show for it after being ineligible for postseason play in 2012 and falling to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game Dec. 7, 34-24. OSU also lost the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3 to No. 12 Clemson, 40-35.
Miller and the Buckeyes are set to begin their 2014 campaign Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.