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.
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.
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”.
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.
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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.