December 20, 2012

12-OH: Miller's one-yard highlight

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Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

Having just wrapped up a perfect season unlike any other in program history, it's hard not to look back at the last 12 months of Ohio State football and not only marvel at the unlikeliness of what the Buckeyes accomplished in 2012, but also how far they've come since their 6-7 mark in 2011. With that in mind, I'll spend 12 days examining and reflecting on the 12 most important moments that helped create and stand out from just the sixth unbeaten and untied season in Ohio State history.

Yesterday, we reflected on how an unlikely hero helped save the Buckeyes' undefeated season. Today, we'll take at an amazing play by Braxton Miller- even by his standards.

STATE COLLEGE, Penn. -- After suffering an apparent upper body injury that forced him to leave Ohio State's win over Purdue in an ambulance, Braxton Miller returned to the Buckeyes' starting lineup just one week later. And while did it take the OSU quarterback some time to find his rhythm, it wasn't long until he was back to his old self.

Facing Penn State and the hostile environment of Beaver Stadium, Miller struggled throwing the ball, completing just seven of his 19 pass attempts for 143 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. But what was really impressive was what the sophomore signal caller was able to do with his feet as he kept his Heisman Trophy campaign chugging along.

Adding two more scores on the ground, Miller rushed for 134 yards against the Nittany Lions, none of which was more impressive than the one that he gained with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter.

Lined up in the shotgun formation alongside running back Carlos Hyde at the Penn State one-yard line, Miller held the ball out for a zone read option play, but pulled it back as Penn State defensive end Sean Stanley converged on the Buckeyes' back. Miller then hopped back, evading linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti in a single juke, and finally split linebacker Glenn Carson and safety Malcolm Willis as he leaped from the two-yard line and into the end zone, providing what may have been college football's lone highlight reel worthy one-yard run.

"I think a guy just came in and tried to tackle Carlos and I pulled it," Miller said. "I don't know who was around me. My instincts just took over after that."

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer admitted to having an obscured view of Miller's amazing play, but said that the reaction that his assistants provided for him made him realize it was something special.

"All I heard in my headset was 'Oh my God!,'" Meyer recalled.

The first-year Buckeyes head coach joked that Miller's one-yard run was the result of preparation in practice, but knew that plays like one are hard to come by.

"We work on that," Meyer said, smiling. "We have a drill. Make seven people miss and dive across."

The play not only inspired oohs and ahhs from the OSU coaching staff and even Nittany Lions fans, but it stretched the Buckeyes' lead to 21-10, putting them in a position to pull away in the fourth quarter with a 35-23 win- their ninth in as many games. More than that, it assured Ohio State fans that their star quarterback was just fine, and ready to go for what would be the final three games of the sixth perfect season in program history.


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