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Heisman Trophy 2012: Why Braxton Miller Didn't Deserve New York Invite

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes controls the ball against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Tim BielikSenior Analyst IDecember 5, 2012

Braxton Miller did not get the coveted invitation to the 2012 Heisman Trophy Ceremony at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City. And as good as his campaign looked at the start of the season, his struggles at the end of the year cost him an opportunity.

You can make a case for the fact that since Ohio State was on a bowl ban, Miller didn't deserve to be a Heisman candidate. However, that is far from the case.

In the last five games  Miller played, he only rushed for over 100 yards once, and that was against Illinois. By comparison, Miller rushed for 100 yards in five of the previous seven games.

Part of that has to be due to the fact that Big Ten defenses came up with a good game plan to focus all their energy and attention on stopping him and daring someone else to beat them.

In the Wisconsin game, for example, the Badgers put both safeties in the box showing no respect to the passing game.

The passing game wasn't working well either, as Miller only completed 10-of-18 passes for 97 yards while rushing for only 47 yards.

Ohio State won the game, but that poor performance combined with the big games from Johnny Manziel and Collin Klein down the stretch knocked Miller off the totem pole.

The other troubling thing that was hurting Miller is that his progression in the passing game slowed towards the end of the season.

In most of their later games, mostly the Purdue and Penn State wins, Miller struggled throwing the ball in the early goings. He had a bad habit of missing open receivers and simple throws.

As a result, his passing numbers suffered, combining to complete just 16-of-39 passing attempts and only one passing touchdown in the two games. (Note: Miller left the Purdue game late in the third quarter due to injury.)

Most of Miller's struggles, however, can be attributed to the fact that he is just a sophomore quarterback learning a new offense with limited weapons around him.

Miller had Carlos Hyde to consistently turn to for some nice runs, but he's not the type of back who can rip a 60-yard run at will.

Philly Brown and Devin Smith are both decent receivers, but neither one brings anything special to the table.

In short, it was no secret that Miller was the offense and if he struggled, so did the offense.

The challenge for him is to use the Heisman snub as motivation to improve his passing mechanics and for OSU to give him some weapons to take pressure off of him.

Miller's late-season struggles cost him a shot at New York City this Saturday night, but he certainly put himself on the map enough to earn some preseason consideration going into next year.

 

Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.

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