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Why is this news?: How different would things be with Braxton Miller?, Ohio State's late game defensive collapses

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Really how different would the Virginia Tech game played out had Braxton Miller been healthy?
Really how different would the Virginia Tech game played out had Braxton Miller been healthy?
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

"That is the fine line of how fragile this whole thing is. I thought we'd be a little further ahead, but we were exposed in this game."

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer

Last week wasn't at all fun for Buckeye fans to watch, but would it have been much different had Ohio State had Braxton Miller lining up behind center instead of J.T. Barrett? ESPN's Big Ten blog took a deeper look into just how things might have been different had Miller not been lost for the year due to shoulder surgery. While the escapability possessed by Miller could've have helped more against Virginia Tech, there still would've been waves of pressure from Bud Foster's defense in his face. The scene probably would've been similar to the Orange Bowl where Clemson battered and bruised Miller. Even had Miller come into the game not having reinjured his shoulder during the offseason, it is possible that the constant punishment he would've taken could've take its toll on the quarterback.

The most notable difference is that the Buckeyes don't have the experienced offensive line and the services of Carlos Hyde this year. Just how much pressure that Carlos Hyde took off of Miller last year can't be understated. Without Hyde teams could've loaded up on stopping Miller against a young offensive line, and with skill position players on offense that are still trying to find their stride. There is no doubt that Braxton Miller is a game-changer, but with the way the rest of the offense looks right now, even all of his athletic ability might have not been enough to avoid the loss on Saturday night.

"The stadium was alive and the team was juiced up on the sideline. We needed a stop to get the ball back again. We had a couple mistakes and that was what it came down to. It had nothing to do with the effort or the calls that were made. So it was more about us, not what Virginia Tech did."

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash

After starting his Ohio State career with 24 straight victories, a troubling development for the Buckeyes under Urban Meyer has been their late game lapses by the defense. Last week after tying the game up at 21 in the fourth quarter against Virginia Tech, and with momentum seemingly on their side, the Buckeyes allowed just a six-play drive to the Hokies which resulted in the eventual game-winning touchdown. Ohio State also held leads in the second half last year against Michigan State and Clemson before eventually falling due to their inability to stop their opponents.

Co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell thinks his squad could were thinking too much about making a big play instead of covering their assignments last week. Ohio State had a chance to get off the field on third down last week with the score tied, but a Eli Apple pass interference penalty kept the drive alive for Virginia Tech and led to the go-ahead touchdown. The defense has made some strides so far this year to improve on their woeful performance last season, but they still lack the killer instinct to give the ball to the offense with a chance to win. Something that was a common theme during the early part of the Ohio State lengthy winning streak.

"Our lake is there for the student body. We're not going to try to fence it off or restrain you from the beauty of it."

Jay Kasey, Ohio State senior vice president of administration and planning

Last night a town-hall-style meeting was held on campus, and attending by around 100 students to get some more information and concerns from students about the yearly jump into Mirror Lake that takes place during Michigan Week. The meeting was organized by Celia Wright, president of the Ohio State undergraduate student government. The meeting was just the first of three discussions, which will include university leaders that will be held in the upcoming weeks about the jump. The discussions are being held to try and prevent events like last year when barricades were put up and jumpers were told they needed a wristband to do so. There was outrage about the new policy and the barricades were rushed by students.

There were plenty of ideas that came out of last night's meeting, including having workers handing out towels to those that have just completed their jump, and possible coat checks in nearby dormitory halls. While it remains to be seen if those are feasible options in the future, it is encouraging that students and university leaders are talking to try and held to improve the yearly tradition to make jumping into a frigid lake as safe as possible.

"I'm glad we're on the same team rather than opposing ones. We're better for that. We push and push and push each other."

Kent State safety Nate Holley on twin brother/teammate Nick Holley

When Kent State takes on Ohio State in Ohio Stadium on Saturday afternoon, they'll be going up against the Holley brothers. Born just 20 minutes apart, Nate is a safety for Kent State, who in the first week against Ohio registered 18 tackles, and is currently tied for the national lead with 27 tackles. On the other side of the football will be the current leading rusher for Kent State, Nick Holley. Head coach Paul Haynes was able to land the pair when he only had one scholarship left before the 2013 season. Nick was offered the last scholarship, and after some early disappointment at not being offered one, Nate joined Kent State as a walk-on.

While they were only separated in birth by less than half an hour, the twins were on opposite sides of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry growing up. Nate grew up as a Michigan fan, while Nick wisely chose to be a fan of the Buckeyes. Aside from their choice of football teams growing up, there have been plenty of other arguments between the twins, which has been evidenced by their dorm room last year and competitiveness in getting to one professor's office hours. While Kent State might not come out on top on Saturday, it should be entertaining to watch the Holley brothers on the field, and going forward in the future for Paul Haynes' team.

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