Braxton Miller may be the best Ohio State quarterback of the BCS era. That is saying something, considering one has won a Heisman, another led the Buckeyes to a national title and another helped them reach three consecutive BCS bowls.
This program has seen its fair share of successful quarterbacks over the last decade and Miller has already thrown himself into the conversation as one of the best.
Last season was Miller's first true season as a starter. He played often in 2011, but was splitting time with Joe Bauserman for the first six games. In 2012-13, Miller threw for 2,039 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for another 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The passing numbers are what folks like to bring up often, as they claim he isn't much of a passer and therefore can't be considered a "true" quarterback.
Terrelle Pryor finished his sophomore season with 2,094 passing yards, which is only a difference of 55 yards. If that blows you away, Pryor also had 41 more pass attempts than Miller's 254, which accounted for the sixth-highest total in the Big Ten last season.
When you add Miller's 15 touchdown passes to Pryor's 18, it clearly shows that Miller had the more efficient sophomore season.
The most passing yards Troy Smith had was in 2006 when he won the Heisman Trophy. He finished with 2,542 yards, but had 311 pass attempts. Todd Boeckman set a career best by passing for 2,372 yards in 2007, but he tossed the ball 298 times. Joe Germaine passed for 3,330 yards in 1998. Pass attempts? A whopping 384.
Taking Miller's 58.3 completion percentage from last year, he would have completed 175 passes if he had thrown the ball 300 times. His average of 13.7 yards per completion would have then bumped his total to roughly 2,397 passing yards.
That's more than Craig Krenzel and Boeckman ever had. It also tops five of the seven seasons Pryor and Smith played for the Buckeyes.
It's also interesting to see that Miller improved his completion percentage by 4.2 percent from his freshman season. If another spike can occur, a 62.5 completion percentage would top any season from Krenzel, Germaine and would only be 2.5 percent behind Pryor's final season in 2010.
It is fair to criticize Miller's passing numbers. The benchmark today is usually a completion percentage of 60 percent and 3,000 passing yards. He has yet to reach that mark.
However, Miller really isn't that much different from the other Ohio State quarterbacks who came before him.
Or is he?
Miller's rushing total of 1,271 yards blows anybody else out of the water. Pryor is the only former Buckeye who comes close, with 779 yards in 2009. Now, try doubling that number. In his freshman season, Miller nearly topped Pryor's 779 yards with 715.
His 13 rushing touchdowns were one fewer than Smith finished with in his career and also four fewer than Pryor's 17 rushing touchdowns over three years.
While some thought that Pryor and Smith were terrific athletes and playmakers, Miller is on a different level and has reset the bar. He is easily one of the best Ohio State quarterbacks from the BCS era.
The scary part is that he still has a couple of years left.
All statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com.
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