Andy Gottesman / For The Lantern
There wasn’t much excitement swirling around Buckeye nation after the football team’s 24-6 loss in Miami on Sept. 17, but a change at the quarterback position followed by a win might have been just enough to get the fans back into it.
The excitement began last Thursday, when coach Luke Fickell announced that true freshman Braxton Miller would be replacing redshirt senior Joe Bauserman as the starting quarterback.
With his new responsibility, the young freshman impressed the crowd of more than 105,000 fans Saturday at Ohio Stadium as he earned his first career win as a starter, throwing two touchdowns to fellow freshman Devin Smith, while cruising to a 37-17 win over Colorado.
Miller’s performance put a little swagger in the Buckeyes step and rallied the fans and his teammates.
“His (Miller) stats are great, but the moves he was putting on guys, just making people look stupid — it was fun to watch,” said Kyle Morrison, a first-year in business.
Fickell expressed his own excitement with Miller and his team.
“We had to play with some emotion,” he said. “I think that’s what we wanted, to get back home and get that feel of emotion, get those guys on the sidelines, gets the students into it. And I think that’s what we saw out there today from the beginning of the game, really, to all the way to the end. We’re excited about those things.”
And the students were into it.
“It was electric,” Morrison said. “I thought they did a great job, the crowd was incredible.”
For first-year Alex Allen, Saturday’s game marked his first visit to the ‘Shoe.
“It was breathtaking,” Allen said. “It was overwhelming to see it all and realize I’m finally watching a game at The Ohio State University.”
As for the intensity of the crowd, “It was crazy,” Allen added. “It’s Block ‘O’ so we had to be.”
Fickell again mentioned the impact of the student body at home games in a press conference on Tuesday.
“I think the one thing our guys enjoyed as much as I did is having students back on campus … Obviously the way we played is a boost, but it’s nice to have that behind you,” Fickell said. “Really want to thank them. Hopefully they continue to do the same things and get better each and every week.”
That electric and crazy crowd will need to stick around Saturday as the Buckeyes play host to Michigan State (3-1), coming off of a blowout win against Central Michigan.
“The crowd is going to be fantastic,” said Alex Grant, a second-year in actuarial science. “I know it’s going to be crowded like always.”
But Buckeye fans are looking for more than positive energy in their first conference game. They’re looking for a win.
“Hopefully we win,” said Andrew Scholl, a second-year in marketing. “It will be exciting. I mean, it’s Ohio State football, It’s always exciting.”
And the Buckeyes have more excitement on the way. Not only does Big Ten play begin Saturday, it also marks a one-week countdown to the return of suspended key players, Dan “Boom” Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas and Mike Adams.
But it’s the return of another starter that has some fans excited for Saturday’s game.
“Braxton Miller,” said Tyler Edwards, a first-year in exercise science. “We’re (students) going crazy about him.”