Miller, Buckeyes make a statement vs. Huskers

COLUMBUS, Ohio – This is not your grandfather’s Big Ten. It’s not your father’s, your neighbor’s or your co-worker’s, either.

It’s Braxton Miller’s.

This Urban Meyer guy is in on the deal, too.

A national showcase game that brought Nebraska to Ohio Stadium for the first time since 1956 became yet another showcase for Ohio State’s sophomore quarterback, who’s basically a tailback still mastering Meyer’s spread offense. Turning a track meet into a laugher — Ohio State ran away from Nebraska, 63-38 — is yet another sign that Miller and Company are getting it.

The bowl-banned Buckeyes, 6-7 a year ago, are not only 6-0 this year but are serving notice of what’s to come.

This coach and quarterback are showing no mercy.

“We can be better,” Miller said. “We have a lot more to do.”

Miller’s latest big game was probably his biggest yet. Miller broke his own Ohio State record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 186, and he also threw for 127 and was one of six different Ohio State players to score.

Ohio State set out to beat Nebraska physically and with the run game, and after a slow start, that’s exactly what happened. Carlos Hyde rushed for 140 yards and four touchdowns, and Ohio State got 498 of the 935 yards of offense posted on the night.

“We have two guys running it for us,” Meyer said. “We have a quarterback that he’s kind of ridiculous running the ball. We’re kind of a pound-you offense. I don’t mind that.”

If the Big Ten doesn’t recognize this Miller-driven offense, it should get used to it. The Buckeyes are developing an identity and have seen Miller become as dangerous as any offensive player in the country. Ohio State is ahead of schedule, and maybe way ahead. When the Buckeyes hit the gas Saturday night, it wasn’t a race for long.

“The first quarter was a trainwreck for our offense,” Meyer said. “Our offensive line eventually kind of took over the game.”

Nebraska controlled the game — and Miller — early. The Huskers kept him in the pocket for the first 20 minutes of the game and forced him to pass. He was 1-of-4 and was sacked twice. The Buckeyes didn’t even have a first down in the first quarter and trailed 17-7 with 11:59 left in the second quarter.

On Ohio State’s next play, Miller took a shotgun snap, froze two Nebraska linebackers and ran 72 yards to the Nebraska 3-yard line.

“Braxton, obviously, changed the game,” Meyer said.

West Virginia’s Geno Smith’s name might be all but engraved on the Heisman Trophy, but Miller is posting impressive numbers in his own right. He’s averaging more than 300 yards per game of offense, has four games of at least 100 rushing yards and has 16 total touchdowns.

For a while Saturday night, Ohio State and Nebraska seemed intent on trying to match the pace of West Virginia’s 70-63 win over Baylor last week. In a span of 19:59 starting with 10:49 left in the second quarter, the teams combined for eight touchdowns and Ohio State scored six of them.

The 63 points in a Big Ten game were the most by the Buckeyes since 1983. Nebraska hasn’t given up that many since it gave up 65 to Colorado in 2007, the same year Nebraska had that 76-point debacle vs. Kansas. That’s one nobody in Husker Country wants to talk about.

This game goes in the same category.

For the Buckeyes, it could be another launching point. Miller is a star, confidence is growing throughout the roster, and afterwards Meyer talked about having recruits in the locker room and looking towards the future.

The bowl ban is for this year only. A record crowd of 106,102 Saturday night saw a team that kept pouring it on and in two Big Ten games has looked like it could have kept pouring it on.

“I always imagined (we’d score) some type of points like this, one day,” Miller said.

Said Meyer: “It was a good night for Ohio State.”