1. He's the Big Ten's best offensive player
Braxton Miller, Ohio State's junior quarterback, won the Big Ten's Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year last week. Coupled with halfback Carlos Hyde, who won the Big Ten award for top running back, Miller leads a running attack that rolls up 321.3 yards per game on the ground, second in the nation. Miller ran for 809 yards and eight scores in eight Big Ten games. He can also throw when needed: Miller threw for 1,551 yards in eight Big Ten games, completing 19 touchdowns against just four interceptions in Big Ten play.
Miller's play has made Ohio State one of the nation's most potent offenses. The Buckeyes are averaging 48 points per game -- third in the country -- and have been held below 40 points only twice all season. That Ohio State offense will face its greatest test so far Saturday.
2. He's changing with the weather
Miller's first two downfield throws in last week's game against Michigan were nowhere near their intended targets. They were so bad that the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Ari Wasserman had to take exception:
Braxton Miller is one of the most exciting players to watch in college football, but what's up with his arm? The first two downfield targets he had against the Wolverines, he missed completely. Really, his accuracy has been rather inconsistent all year, which is staggering to think about because he came into the Michigan game completing nearly 70 percent of his throws.
As the Big Ten weather has deteriorated and his struggles have continued, Miller has adapted. Through Ohio State's November 2 win over Purdue, Miller was completing 72 percent of his pass attempts and had thrown for more than 200 yards in four consecutive games. Since then, his passing statistics have tanked: In three games, Miller has completed just 49 percent of his pass attempts, for an average of just 148 yards per game. However, as Miller's passing has fallen off, his running has improved. Miller has averaged 160 rushing yards per game in those three contests, 100 yards per game more than he had averaged to that point. He has also scored six of his eight rushing touchdowns in those three games.
Saturday's game is played indoors, so we will soon know whether Miller's accuracy woes have been due to the weather conditions. But even if they are not, Miller has adapted to using a rather effective Plan B.
3. He's not Ohio State's only quarterback
Only Ohio State can have so much talent at quarterback that it can lose the two-time conference Offensive Player of the Year and not miss a beat. If Miller is injured or otherwise unable to play, senior Kenny Guiton is waiting in the wings. Guiton guided the Buckeyes to three wins in non-conference play while Miller was out injured, completing 68 percent of his pass attempts and throwing 12 touchdown passes. Guiton also ran for 180 yards in those three games. He was good enough that head coach Urban Meyer openly contemplated a quarterback change when Miller struggled early in the Big Ten season.
Miller has since rebounded, and is unquestionably the Buckeyes' starting quarterback. But if Michigan State manages to take him out of the game, Ohio State is far from dead.