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No replacement for talent

September 30, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Ohio State's offense belonged to the man who cannot be replaced and a replacement when it beat Michigan State 17-16 on Saturday.

Irreplaceable quarterback Braxton Miller showed the whole inventory of his game - the great, the good and the flaws.

And the replacement, running back Carlos Hyde, was right behind him in crunch time.

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Miller ran for 145 yards, which was the third time this senior the sophomore QB had gone over 100 yards.

He threw for 179 yards and delivered a 63-yard scoring pass to Devin Smith in the third quarter to put OSU ahead to stay after Michigan State had taken its only lead of the game.

But he also threw an interception and lost two fumbles, but only one of those turnovers led to Michigan State points.

Hyde returned after missing the last two games with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee.

That return became even more vital for the Buckeyes in the second half when starting running back Jordan Hall had to leave the game with a knee injury.

Six of Hyde's 11 carries came in the fourth quarter and he picked up two of the three first downs Ohio State had in its final drive when it ran out the clock.

His five-yard run with just over two minutes to play sealed the win for the Buckeyes.

"I came to Ohio State for stuff like that. I was determined to get that first down and no one was going to stop me from getting that first down," Hyde said.

"I prepared for this game. I prepared like I was the starter. When he (Hall) went down, they told me I had to step up. I stepped up and took advantage of the opportunity."

A year ago as a freshman, Miller's second opportunity to start a game came against Michigan State and it wasn't pretty.

In a 10-7 Michigan State win at Ohio Stadium, he threw for only 56 yards, never had a run longer than three yards, was sacked four times and was replaced by Joe Bauserman for the fourth quarter.

This time, Michigan State saw a different Miller.

"You watch the film last year and he was a dear in the headlights and with good reason. It was his second start, he was 19 years old and 190 pounds," Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman said.

This year Miller was ready for the bright lights and everything Michigan State's defense threw at him.

"There's no doubt he's the fuel in our engine," Herman said. "But when you're playing a defense this talented, this aggressive, this well coached it's tough to find a way to pass the ball. We're still a work in progress (in the passing game). We had to manufacture some ways to run the ball."

Miller was shaken up twice by big hits. Asked if his heart stopped when he saw that, OSU coach Urban Meyer said, "Almost."

"It was a gutsy effort by our quarterback. He had some miscues. He's banged up but he just kept coming back," Meyer said.

Miller's miscues - the two fumbles and an interception - were far outweighed by the rest of his contribution in Herman's eyes.

"That's an easy fix. The kid played hard, he played tough, he put the team on his back. We can fix the turnovers. The attitude, effort and ability he has can't be taught," he said.

 
 

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