Thomas Bradley / Campus editor
On Saturday night in Lincoln, Neb., the Buckeyes suffered another devastating loss. But Buckeye Nation shouldn’t fret.
A leader may have emerged.
Freshman Braxton Miller finally lived up to the hype. With the lights turned on the brightest, Miller looked anything but a freshman.
Miller took the Buckeye offense to levels of production Saturday that we had not seen since the Week 1 beat down of Akron, a clearly inferior opponent.
Coming off of what was probably the second-most embarrassing Buckeye football game I’ve witnessed, after the 2007 national championship game against Florida, the quarterback situation was still in question. Michigan State, in perhaps the most lopsided 10-7 game of all-time, manhandled the Buckeyes.
So who would start against the No. 14 Cornhuskers?
Would it be Miller? Coming off the MSU game, I wasn’t confident in a guy who looked like he was still trying to play high school football, scrambling every time his first option wasn’t open. While this may have worked against inconsistent high school football players, it certainly wasn’t going to work against Division I athletes, but I wasn’t sure Miller had figured that out yet.
Or would it be Joe Bauserman? While his play against Miami was awful, going just 2-of-14 passing, he looked better than Miller last week against MSU, leading the Bucks to their only touchdown in very limited playing time. I even may have felt a little more comfortable with the sixth-year senior under center than Miller and his freshman nerves.
I could have seen coach Luke Fickell going in either direction. Roll the dice with Miller and hope for the best or go with the steadier hand and start Bauserman?
But when Miller was shown warming up, a little bit of excitement stirred inside.
Over the course of the next two hours, that excitement only grew.
Miller looking calm and collected on the opening drive, completing a couple of passes down field and having a nice run was even better.
The next drive was even better as Miller showed off his legs with two long runs and then completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jake Stoneburner on a tricky tight end screen play.
My excitement couldn’t be contained. The celebration continued and before I knew it, it was 27-6 Buckeyes halfway through the third quarter.
But that’s when the bottom fell out.
An ankle sprain ended Miller’s night and Bauserman came in with one last chance to prove himself as a viable quarterback for the Buckeyes.
So much for that.
Bauserman went 1-for-10 passing with an interception down the stretch and essentially blew the game. He proved his ineptness once again.
Final score: Nebraska 34-27 Ohio State. Excitement over.
So yes, the loss stings, but the silver lining may be better than a win could have been.
While his numbers weren’t overwhelmingly dominating, Miller showed he can run the offense. He showed he can make plays. He showed he can handle the bright lights.
And no, he’s not polished or a finished product, not even close. So have patience with the kid, he’s only 18 and trying to learn on the fly.
But it looks as though we’ve found a quarterback, a winner, a leader. And in the hardest of times for Buckeye Nation, there is nothing we need more.