Ohio State Football: Braxton Miller Looking to Bounce Back Against Iowa

David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2013

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 05: Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 40-30. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The last time Braxton Miller was on the field, he was struggling through a three-turnover, zero-touchdown performance against Northwestern, with his coach on the sideline wondering whether to pull him in favor of backup Kenny Guiton.

After using the bye week to evaluate his play and continue the recovery process from a Week 2 knee injury, Miller is looking to bounce back against the Iowa Hawkeyes this Saturday.

Miller talked about that challenge in a video posted by Eleven Warriors.

This is probably one of the biggest games because, coming off the bye week and that Northwestern game, you know, we've got to have good preparation, be focused and make sure our fundamentals are all together.

Miller showed all of those qualities in his first action back from injury, piling up 281 total yards and four passing touchdowns (and no turnovers) against Wisconsin in Week 5.

Against Northwestern the following week, Miller struggled, completing less than 60 percent of his passes for the first time this year while looking tentative in the run game. That tentativeness was caused by the lingering pain from his knee injury.

"I wasn't fully myself," Miller said of the Northwestern game, via the Eleven Warriors video. "I just gotta keep getting healthy, getting treatment on [the injured knee] and get back to my old ways."

Miller admitted that he's not 100 percent healthy yet, according to Marcus Hartman of Fox Sports Ohio, but the junior quarterback has been working hard to correct the mistakes he made against Northwestern.

How has Miller been doing that? 

For starters, Meyer has Miller focusing on ball security. Miller fumbled twice against Northwestern—the first of which resulted in a Northwestern touchdown, while the second occurred as Miller was barreling his way toward the end zone inside the Wildcats' five-yard line.

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 05: Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes tires to recover his own fumble after being tackled by Tyler Scott #97 of the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Both were huge mistakes that likely would have cost Ohio State the game, if not for Carlos Hyde's heroics.

To prevent Miller from making the same mistakes, Meyer has his quarterback holding the ball properly every chance he can—even as the team goes through its stretching routine.

“I wasn’t really holding the ball correctly when I was cutting through the holes and I wasn’t holding the ball tight,” Miller said, according to Ari Wasserman of The Plain Dealer. “It’s an easy fix."

What won't be easy is making those adjustments against Iowa's ninth-ranked defense.

Per Wasserman, Iowa is the only team in the country that hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown. The Hawkeyes are especially stout against the run, allowing just 88 yards per game.

Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes will need Miller to bounce back in a big way to crack Iowa's tough defense.


David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.