Created on Monday, 30 September 2013 Written by RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes ...
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller drops back to pass against Wisconsin during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
BUCKEYES BUZZ: So either Braxton Miller is a quick healer, he wasn't hurt all that bad all along, the coaches and doctors were overly cautious, or the entire QB controversy thing was just a smoke screen to throw off Wisconsin.
Miller took every snap from center for the fourth-ranked Buckeyes in the 31-24 win over No. 23 Wisconsin on Saturday night.
Coach Urban Meyer had said Miller was the likely starter all week, pending how the junior looked in practice.
In the game, however, he did not appear to have any limitations. He ran straight ahead, made cuts, kept on options, was hit from the side and head on — and looked like the exact same player he was before he sustained a sprained medial-collateral ligament early in Game Two.
Meyer said there was no doubt who would bear the load of the offense if Miller was healthy.
"When I saw (Miller in practice) on Thursday, then there was no doubt who was going to be our starter," Meyer said
He added that he felt he needed to find more playing time for Kenny Guiton, who performed brilliantly in the three games while Miller was out, and for TB Jordan Hall, who got just one carry after averaging 16 attempts over the season's first four games.
Miller carried 22 times for 83 net yards, with bruising Carlos Hyde getting 17 totes for 85 yards.
For his part, Miller opened his postgame comments by saying how well he thought Guiton played in his stead. Miller added that he had worked a lot on fundamentals over the past two weeks.
"It was a good crowd; always a great crowd with the Buckeyes," he said of the game, in which he also completed 17 of 25 passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. "I felt good. My legs felt good, energy-wise. I wasn't out of shape."
Asked how his knee felt, he added, "It's good. It's 100 percent. I just wear a knee brace for caution and keep it real tight."
QUOTABLE: OG Andrew Norwell on what the loss of Christian Bryant, who broke his left ankle late in the game, means: "Next man in. It's a significant loss for our defense. It's sad. You've definitely got to take ownership in the next guy stepping up. It's the whole group."
NEXT UP: The Buckeyes play No. 16 Northwestern at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill., also at 8 p.m. on Saturday night.
CONFERENCE SLATE: In addition to the Buckeyes' win over Wisconsin, Iowa topped Minnesota 23-7 in the only other Big Ten game on Saturday. Illinois walloped Miami (Ohio) 50-14 and Purdue surprisingly whipped up on Northern Illinois 55-24 in independent contests.
This coming Saturday's action has Illinois at Nebraska, Michigan State at Iowa, Minnesota at No. 19 Michigan and Penn State at Indiana.
AND ELSEWHERE: The key games around the country on Saturday include No. 8 Florida State hosting No. 25 Maryland, No. 15 Washington at No. 5 Stanford, No. 1 Alabama at home against Georgia State, No. 2 Oregon at Colorado, No. 3 Clemson at Syracuse, No. 7 Louisville at Temple and No. 10 LSU at Mississippi State.
POLL DANCE: The Buckeyes remained No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25. The top five teams — Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State and Stanford — all held their same spots from last week.
In the USA Today coaches' poll, the top five also remained in the exact same spots, although Ohio State was No. 3 and Clemson No. 4.
LeBRON VISITS: Former Cleveland Cavaliers player and current two-time NBA champion LeBron James of the Miami Heat spoke to the Buckeyes before Saturday's game and then stood on the sideline near the bench.
At the Ohio State band's "skull session" at St. John Arena, James again referred to Ohio State's colors as "scarlet and red." He did that a couple of weeks ago when it was revealed that a locker has been set aside for him in the Buckeyes' new basketball practice arena.
Meyer said he welcomed James to meet with the team.
"I just know I love athletes that handle their business. I love athletes that live right off the field and show incredible leadership. And I've always been a LeBron fan," Meyer said. "I met him back when he was at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (high school). To have him come and be gracious with our team, visit our team, speak to our team, plus he's a Buckeye. He loves Ohio State. And he's made that clear several times to me throughout the year."
WRAPPING UP WISCONSIN: Ohio State's 17th consecutive win is the longest in the nation and ties for the fourth-longest streak in school history. The longest is 22 games from 1967-69. ... The crowd of 105,826 marked the third largest in Ohio Stadium history. ... The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 116-21 in the first quarter this year. ... With 83 rushing yards, Miller became the all-time leading rushing QB at Ohio State with 2,151 yards (passing Cornelius Greene with 2,080). ... Ohio State held Wisconsin to just 104 yards rushing. The Badgers came into the game No. 3 nationally with 349.8 rushing yards per game. ... Cameron Johnston punted six times, pinning Wisconsin inside the 20-yard line each time. Eleven of Johnston's 18 punts have been downed inside the 20. ... Mike Conley Jr., a guard for the Memphis Grizzlies and 2007 starter for the national runner-up Buckeyes, was recognized at halftime for a $500,000 gift to the new men's and women's basketball practice facility. ... Each of Wisconsin's last 12 losses have come by seven or fewer points. ... Badgers senior LB Chris Borland, an Ohio native, matched his career high with a game-high 16 tackles. ... Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis had a career-high 207 receiving yards.