MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — After his Ohio State squad lost the Orange Bowl 40-35 to Clemson Friday night, Braxton Miller had an answer for every question but one he fielded from reporters in the locker room.
It was in regard to the legacy of a Buckeye team that was undefeated in the regular season but winless in the postseason.
"That’s kind of tough," the Ohio State quarterback said. "You might want to ask Coach Meyer about that one. I don’t want to say too much about it."
With the defeat so fresh, it was hard to blame Miller for passing on the chance to judge the season. As for the night itself, it was not hard to view his performance at Sun Life Stadium in Miami in a similar light to that of the team overall — at times spectacular but also riddled with errors.
Miller, the two-time winner of the Silver Football as the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player, completed 16 of 24 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked five times, dragging his final rushing total down from 84 yards gained to 35 net yards, and he threw a pair of interceptions.
Both of the turnovers proved to be damaging, the first setting up Clemson on a short field for a go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter and the second ending Ohio State’s hopes of a rally late in the fourth.
"I thought I had Philly (Brown) on a bender and it was my mistake," Miller said of his senior wide receiver who was working against single coverage in the seam to the quarterback’s right in the final two minutes of the game. "I’m not gonna complain about anything, I’ve just gotta fix it."
Where he goes to try to do that fixing remains to be seen as the junior quarterback gave no indication if he will return to Ohio State for his senior season or enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
He said he planned to sit down with head coach Urban Meyer and director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti in the coming week to figure out what he needs to figure out.
"Just think it out throughout the whole process and how it will go," he said. "I don’t want to make no decision I really didn’t do my research on."
Miller said he is not leaning any direction — toward staying or going — and laughed when asked if he could set odds on what his ultimate decision might be.
He was clear on other topics, saying he didn’t put enough air on the throw to Brown that was snagged by Clemson linebacker Stephone Anthony to essentially end the game with less than 90 seconds left and the Buckeyes near midfield.
"It was good coverage," Miller said. "I give him props. That’s why he’s on the field too. He’s got a scholarship as well. He’s a good player. He made a good play on the ball. I thought I had Philly wide open. He jumped right in front of me."
Miller was briefly knocked out of the game after finding running back Carlos Hyde with a 14-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that put the Buckeyes back on top 35-34 and said he played virtually the whole game in pain. That started with a sack by Vic Beasley on the opening drive.
"I don’t know what happened, but I landed on my elbow and it just shot up to my shoulder," Miller said. "It was hurting real bad, a scale of one to 10, a nine-and-a-half."
While he now has eight months to heal for his next game, it remains to be seen where that contest might be.