"I just want to get better. I can't wait until Saturday, against Hawaii to showcase more talent. It was devastating what happened to my shoulder (last year) and stuff like that, and all the emotion that's hit me, just being back up there with the guys and making plays and high-fiving with everyone on the sideline, it just felt like I didn't miss a beat."
After Monday night's performance against Virginia Tech, Buckeye Nation can't wait to see Braxton Miller get back on the field either. The college football world has been abuzz about Miller's spin move since it happened on his 53-yard touchdown run. The one person who might not have seen the full scope of how big the play was is Miller. The fifth-year senior takes all of his classes online now, so he didn't get to see or hear fellow students talk about the play in the couple days following, and since Miller doesn't have cable he hasn't gotten to see all that the sports networks have been saying. Let's not feel too bad for Miller though, as he has seen the reactions on Twitter from countless professional athletes.
For all the praise the spin move is getting, it isn't the favorite play Miller has made in a Buckeye uniform. That honor goes to the 2012 play in State College, where he froze a Penn State defender on his way to diving into the end zone on 3rd & goal to give Ohio State the lead in the third quarter. Just a game into his transition to his new position, Miller has already raised the expectations for what he'll be able to contribute to the Buckeyes this season. Many thought it might take some time for him to adjust to the H-back position, but he was able to step in immediately and make an instant impact. If the redshirt senior can keep making plays like he did against Virginia Tech for the rest of the season, the sky is the limit to what Miller and Ohio State can achieve this year.
"It was cool to play here in high school, and the win was pretty sweet. I mean there weren't that many people, so it's completely different. It was just cool to play in a big-ass stadium."
If form holds true from Monday night, when Ohio State takes on Hawaii on Saturday, Cardale Jones will get to make his second first start at Ohio Stadium. So far in the redshirt junior's four starts for the Buckeyes, all of them have came at either neutral sites or on the road. Starting for the Buckeyes on Saturday wouldn't mark the first time that Jones has gotten a start in the iconic stadium, though. When he was the quarterback for Cleveland Glenville, Jones and company made the trek down to Columbus to take Dwyer high school from Florida, which included Jack Nicklaus' grandson, Nick O'Leary.
In the game against Dwyer, Jones was able to lead the Tarblooders on a 96-yard drive that ended with the game-winning score, but hopefully Jones won't need to replicate the dramatics on Saturday. The big difference between his first start and Saturday is when the Buckeyes take the field against Hawaii, Jones will have 100,000+ Ohio State fans cheering him on. After what the quarterback has done in leading the Buckeyes to four huge wins in his first four starts, it is about time Jones was able to get a chance to lead Ohio State at The Horseshoe.
"Yeah, my first start in the Horseshoe, man. I'm just ready to go out there with my teammates and have fun. It means a lot to me that I'm able to go out there. It's truly a blessing. I want to thank God, man, because this has been a long journey and I'm finally there. It's finally here."
Saturday figures to be the first of many starts inside Ohio Stadium for sophomore linebacker Raekwon McMillan. The Georgia native has a little bit of momentum heading into his first home start after his eight tackle performance, which tied for third on the team, against Virginia Tech earned him a "champion" grade from the coaching staff after they reviewed the game film. The grade McMillan earned from the coaching staff had his phone blowing up with congratulations from friends and family.
McMillan praised defensive ends Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard for their play on Monday night, but the linebacker is excited to get Joey Bosa back onto the field for the Buckeyes. With Bosa out of the lineup, it gave McMillan a chance to line up at defensive end in a zone blitz look that the Buckeyes showed the Hokies. It will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes use Bosa and McMillan rushing off the same edge going forward, which would certainly give opposing defenses plenty of headaches. If McMillan plays throughout the season as well as he played against Virginia Tech, he can expect plenty more "champion" grades from the coaching staff, as well as countless more congratulatory texts from friends and family.
"Ohio State, to their credit, went in there and made adjustments like a championship team should do. But, hey, that day, Ohio State didn't look like the No. 1 team in the country in the first half. In the second half, they got in control of Virginia Tech. But it was not like they can't be beat."
It's no surprise that Desmond Howard would say things to rile the feathers of Ohio State fans. Before the season began, Howard was one of five ESPN analysts to pick Michigan State to win the Big Ten title. Another one of those analysts was former Michigan quarterback Brian Griese. Let's not forget, Howard ranked Michigan as the sixth-best team in the country heading into last season. While it's admirable for Howard to not want to go with the consensus and try to mix things up a little bit, he might want to revisit some of his reasoning.
Michigan State didn't exactly set the world on fire with their win over Western Michigan on Friday night, either. The Spartans did jump out to a sizable first half lead, but Western Michigan was on the verge of making it a one-score game late before a Michigan State interception sealed the victory. Apparently Urban Meyer telling Heather Cox at halftime about possibly needing to get J.T. Barrett ready was enough to worry Howard. It feels like this year will shake out just like last year, with both Ohio State and Michigan State on a collision course to decide the Big Ten East on the field in November. In that case, the Buckeyes will get a chance to show Howard yet again just how wrong he is.
STICK TO SPORTS:
- The I-270/U.S. 23 "trench" is now open, hopefully easing some of the traffic congestion on the northside.
- The Ohio Craft Brew Festival takes place Friday & Saturday at the North Market.
- Cedar Point has a new roller coaster in the works for 2016 and it sounds ridiculous.
- TV Azteca's ad for USA/Mexico next month certainly is something to see.
- Not even going to try and pronounce the name of this Welsh village.