Cody Cousino / Photo editor
With 1:10 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, freshman quarterback Braxton Miller trotted out to the 48 yard-line, down by three, to attempt to drive the Buckeyes to victory.
Was he nervous? No. Miller had the composure of a senior quarterback who has been through it all. He had the moxie of a veteran. He turned to head coach Luke Fickell and without words, told his coach he was ready for his moment.
“It’s just confidence. Go out there with confidence and things might work out for you,” Miller said after the game.
On first down, Miller found fullback Zack Boren for a gain of seven yards and put the Buckeyes in Wisconsin territory. With 52 seconds left on the clock, Miller ran for a gain of two yards and gave the Buckeyes a third-and-1. Forty-three seconds remained.
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On third-and-1, OSU chose to go with the running game, something that had been working the entire night. A three-yard run from senior running back Daniel “Boom” Herron moved the chains.
Miller dropped back looking for a pass, stepped out of the pocket and rolled to the right. Juking and shifting, then barely escaping through the outstretched arms of a diving Brendan Kelly, Miller jolted toward the line of scrimmage. With the entire stadium thinking he was going to run to set up the field goal for the tie, Miller pulled up and hurled a ball to the end zone.
Sophomore wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown was near the 15-yard line when Miller launched the pass.
“I thought he was throwing it to me because he pointed to me,” Brown said. “Then when I saw him throw it I said, ‘Where are you throwing it to?’ … Then I turned around and Devin (Smith) was just waiting. I think the ball was in the air for about six seconds.”
After the defense gave up two touchdowns on the last two possessions, junior cornerback Travis Howard said he knew the offense would put together something special.
“The whole time I was on the sideline, I told everybody that we’re going to win it right here,” Howard said. “I just knew it, I had faith that we were going to get the job done.”
With 20 seconds on the clock, freshman wide receiver Devin Smith stood in the end zone, all by himself.
“(I was thinking) ‘Just make a play and catch it,'” Smith said. “I didn’t hear anything. As soon as I caught it, I fell down and the crowd just erupted.”
Smith found himself wide open after broken coverage by the Wisconsin secondary. He made the catch, and after the play was reviewed, the touchdown stood, and the Buckeyes held a 4-point lead with 20 seconds left.
Miller said he could not believe how long the pass was in the air.
“I was like ‘Dang.’ (That pass) took forever … but I’m glad he caught it and we got a victory,” Miller said. “I was surprised (that he was wide open). I just had to let it go.”
Fickell said that play-making ability from Miller has been around all year, and Saturday against Wisconsin, he showed it.
“We knew all year that Braxton (Miller) can throw the ball, can do some things keeping the ball alive. And he had confidence,” Fickell said. “It was amazing to see that from a young guy like that.”
Miller said he hardly ever gets nervous, and he was not nervous going into that last drive.
“I don’t know, I just never get nervous at all,” Miller said. “Maybe when I give speeches in front of the class, that’s about it.”
Tyler Robinson contributed to this story.