Braxton Miller's True Value to the Buckeyes

By Jeff Beck on June 6, 2014 at 11:00a
B. Miller
26 Comments

In his fourth year at the helm of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Braxton Miller will attempt to rewrite the Scarlet and Gray record book. He is currently Ohio State’s fourth all-time leading rusher with 3,054 yards.

The total puts him 715 yards behind Eddie George (second all-time). Miller also sits just 2,256 passing yards behind all-time passing leader, Art Schlichter. If that’s not enough, he also holds the record for total offensive yards in a season with 3,310 (2012). That offensive explosion during the Buckeyes’ undefeated campaign put him 20 yards ahead of former leader Bobby Hoying (3,290 yards in 1995).

If Miller has a season similar to his previous two, he’ll break the marks listed above and will become the first three-time winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, awarded to the Big Ten’s best player. There are worse ways to spend four years.

It’s hard to truly quantify Miller’s impact over the past three seasons. Things like leadership, grit, experience and intensity don’t fit nicely into a spreadsheet. But, what’s undeniable are his stats as a percentage of the Buckeyes’ overall offensive output. So, let’s take a look at just how valuable Miller’s been to the Scarlet and Gray over the past three seasons.

2011

As a true freshman, Braxton was thrust into a less-than-ideal situation. Forced to take the reigns of a team reeling from NCAA sanctions, he was asked to make lemonade out of a dumpster fire.

The thing is, on an individual level he may have done it. One year removed from high school Braxton accounted for 38% of the team’s 318 total points, over a quarter of the squad’s total rushing yardage (29%) and a whopping 45% of the team’s total offensive yards.

Just to reiterate, that’s a true freshman coming in and immediately accounting for nearly 50% of The Ohio State University’s total offense. Kindly remove your black stripe Braxton.

2012

Miller set the bar high with his inaugural campaign, then promptly followed it up with an even more impressive sophomore year. Braxton led the Buckeyes to an improbable undefeated season and absolutely carried the team statistically in the process. His 246 points accounted for 38% of the Scarlet and Gray’s total points over the season and his career best 1,271 rushing yards were good enough for 44% of the squad’s overall rushing yardage.

In addition (and most impressive), Miller’s record-breaking 3,310 total yards accounted for an unreal 65% of the team’s overall production. That’s simply unbelievable. One shudders to think what the magical 2012 season may have been without Braxton under center. That’s what we in the business of typing up words in our parents’ basement call an “X-Factor”.

2013

After a scary injury to Miller against Purdue in 2012 (and after someone on staff crunched these same numbers) it was determined he would carry less of the load his junior year.

Braxton's Share
Year Points Rushing Yds Total Offense
2011 38% 29% 45%
2012 38% 44% 65%
2013 34% 25% 44%

The emergence of Carlos Hyde as a bat-out-of-hell coupled with an improved receiving corps allowed the offense to rely less on No. 5, but that doesn’t mean he was cut out of the equation. Despite missing two games to injury, Miller managed to account for 34% of the team’s total points, a quarter of the team’s total rushing yards and 44% of the squad’s total yards.

That’s the kind of stuff that wins you two Silver Footballs.

It’s clear Braxton’s year-to-year value can’t be understated, but what will the Buckeyes be losing as a whole when No. 5 graduates this season? In two words…a ton.

Thus far Miller’s tallied 84 total touchdowns, which account for 504 total points or 36% of the Buckeyes’ points scored over the past three seasons. Even scarier, Braxton’s 8,346 total yards make up 51% of OSU’s yards gained during his career. That’s a lot walking out the door come January 2015. Luckily, Buckeye Nation has one more year to watch the fireworks.


Since starting as a true-freshman Miller has been an incredible player on the field and an even better person off it. He’s as humble as they come despite a list of records that could stretch around 270. Enjoy his last season in Columbus. If it’s anything like his first three, it won’t disappoint. 

26 Comments

Comments

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

I really hope those percentages don't spike sharply in 2014. It would signify that Brax's supporting cast aren't up to par. With all the talent we have built over the last few years that just cannot happen. Here's hoping for the best. Win or lose it's sure as hell been fun watching Brax play.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+6 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Amen.

Hope to see Brax as more of the distributor, and not the spark plug.
 

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+6 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

If Brax IS the distributor, then his numbers will reflect that. So it's possible that his percentage of the total points and yards spike, in a good way, because he's improved in distributing the ball to all of our playmakers. 

That may be what you were getting at Hove, but it seemed that the point was being made that his numbers spiking would automatically be a bad thing. I guess the number we don't want to necessarily see spike is his rushing total.

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I'm looking for effective ball distribution for two (three) reasons - keeping five alive (80's movie fans in here?), and seeing this offense go on all cylinders - which ultimately leads to the third reason (team success).

You're correct in his numbers likely spiking as an additional result, but I hope there is less dependance on Brax as far as the only sure option.

Long season - I want him there from late August to early (mid?) January.

 

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

Well it depends on how the stats are being read. 

If his percentage spikes because our short passing game is producing a crap ton of YAC, you can't be upset with that. It's very realistic that a playmaker emerge from the receiver group that tears up the field in the screen game. Braxton's percentage would be brought down by sharing the rock, but then it would be brought up much higher with every great run after the catch. It would make it seem as if Brax was doing much more work than he was.

Braxton hands off the ball to Carlos Hyde for a 15 yd run --> 0% Braxton

Braxton throws a flash screen to Dontre for a 15 yd run --> 50% Braxton

His percentage of our output doesn't describe who's getting the touches as much as it describes how those players are getting them. He could be 80% of our offense and still distribute it to 8 different players, if it's in the passing game and we're getting YAC it's going to look as if he's Peyton Manning.

How many cheeseburgers are you gunna drive into that dirty old cheeseburger locker Brady Hoke?

GVerrilli92's picture

In other words, in this offense, whatever Braxton's percentage is over 50% is going to be real close to his exact contribution through the ground. 

Which, then again, do you want to take the ball out of his hands when he's one of the best ball-carriers in the country?

 

How many cheeseburgers are you gunna drive into that dirty old cheeseburger locker Brady Hoke?

buckguyfan1's picture

Will miss him when he moves on.  Here's to hoping he goes out this year with a Bang! 

+6 HS
HattanBuck85's picture

He has a chance to be the greatest QB in Buckeye history. I truly believe that. 

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." - Woody Hayes

+5 HS
mjfiore's picture

If he can improve his passing game (accuracy and quickness of reads), he will be an amazing quarterback.  And we can put him up to be considered for greatest QB in Buckeye history.  

Racking my brain...who is considered the greatest...Art?

---
Buckeye love in the Big Apple

Seth4Bucks's picture

I for one was extremely happy to see his rushing numbers drop from two seasons ago. I hadn't seen the stats like this before, but only accounting for 25% of the Buckeye rushing yards is a great thing IMO. And I'm hoping that trend continues this year. Especially considering that we don't have smooth jazz to come off the bench if BM goes down for a quarter, game, or several games.

+1 HS
Barnsey69's picture

What does Braxton Miller mean to the Buckeyes?

Everything.

Nice summary of his stats and impact. 

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

+3 HS
ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

I pray he breaks the passing record by miles and stays healthy

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+4 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

I don't particularly care for evaluating a QB by total yards. If the ball is thrown, 99% of the time the QB is the one slinging it. Using that measure, Devin Gardner accounted for 70% of Michigan's offense last season. I lost count of how many silver footballs he has. 

+3 HS
jpbuckeye's picture

Are you giving Gardner credit for the yards gained when he threw it to the wrong team? :-)

+1 HS
chemicalwaste's picture
I wish this wasn't really his fourth year coming up. I know there have been other tips to discuss but I've been ridiculously curious how that shoulder is coming along. I know they have a great physical therapy program here, so I'm sure he's getting the best treatment possible.

buckeyepastor's picture

As Miller goes, so goes OSU.   I love his leadership, I love his ability, I love his awareness.   What I'll be watching most closely are not his rushing yards or total yards, but whether he consistently makes the correct reads in the run game, whether he gets rid of the ball as the receiver is coming open and not waiting until he's wide open (which is usually too long to wait) and his completion percentage.  If he can stay healthy, his athleticism alone will carry him up the rushing yards list and 2,300 in 12 games is well within reach.   But landing us in the final four in December will require better reads, quicker releases, and completing around 70% of his throws.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

+2 HS
tussey's picture

he was asked to make lemonade out of a dumpster fire.

I about spit my lunch all over my computer when I read that. 

+1 HS
porkchop's picture

Probably the jukiest dude I've seen with a football in his hands since Barry Sanders.  That's a compliment, by the way.  Here's to another stellar season!

+2 HS
O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

I so respect how he has represented the university these past 3 seasons. If anyone has ever deserved a great final campaign, it's him. Hi-yo, Silver!

+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

and was a Devier Posey reception away from beating UM 3 straight years. oh well, I guess eventually 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Bucksfan's picture

All that's missing is a bowl win.

+2 HS
Tom57's picture

Sadly... if the team doesn't win a B1G CG his legacy will be largely unfulfilled in a team sport and program that measures success by championships won.

+2 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I think that he has cemented tOSU as a school where the dual-threat QB can flourish, following in the footsteps of TP. I think he'll be remembered as one of the most electrifying playmakers from his position that college football has seen, able to score with his arm or feet on almost any play. Highlight reel stuff. The key to this year will be consistency, distribution, and execution as a passing QB in pressure situations. If one game or more resorts to Brax and the offense running a running play that you could draw up in the dirt, his legacy will have reached its ceiling. Unfair, perhaps, but true. I'll miss him, though. I remember the first game and just knowing there was something special there. I know I'm not alone. He and Shazier have been a treat.

+2 HS
Shangheyed's picture

We are lucky to have him.... this season should be even better, wishing B. Miller a healthy successful up coming season.

seafus26's picture

I'm asking because I don't know. What is a quarterbacks normal percentage of a team's yardage and points scored?  

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

acBuckeye's picture

If Pryor had returned like he was supposed to for his senior year, Brax would be chasing all of TP's records, b/c TP would've shattered them.