Braxton Miller played his first game at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 3, 2011. The Wayne grad split time at quarterback that day with Joe Bauserman, a redshirt senior. Miller threw his first career touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, 14 yards to fellow freshman Devin Smith.
Three weeks later, Miller earned the starting job, setting the stage for a brilliant career, one chapter of which will end Saturday when No. 3 Ohio State (10-0, 6-0) plays No. 9 Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. and Miller and 17 other seniors play their final home game.
“Last game in the shoe Saturday,” Miller wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “A lot of memories. Very blessed to be able to play the sport again. #watchgodwork”
No one in Ohio State history has been responsible for more touchdowns than Miller. He has 52 passing touchdowns, 33 rushing touchdowns and three touchdown receptions. The Buckeyes will miss him after this season, no one more than coach Urban Meyer.
Miller won the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award as a sophomore in 2012, Meyer’s first season, leading the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record.
“We all have immense feelings for him,” Meyer said, “because we all know how average we were, especially on offense, our first year. You don’t have that kid, you start your coaching career here at Ohio State .500 or something. If we don’t get momentum, those other great things don’t happen, or they certainly don’t happen in the same kind of time frame. Braxton was and is an ultimate competitor. He means a lot to us.”
On a good note: Linebacker Raekwon McMillan wants to win Saturday for all the seniors, but specifically for the senior who plays beside him, Joshua Perry.
“Josh has done great things for this community, great things for this program,” McMillan said. “He was here when it was at rock bottom when they went 6-7. I just want to send (the seniors) out on a good note like we did last year with Curtis Grant.”
Award news: Running back Ezekiel Elliott is one of 11 semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, which honors the nation’s best running back. Three finalists will be announced Tuesday.
Elliott was asked Wednesday if he thinks about winning the Heisman, and his only response was, “I think about winning the Big Ten championship.”