For the Ohio State Buckeyes, the 2013 season ended with disappointment. They were unable to punch their ticket to the BCS National Championship, falling to the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten title game and ending their 24-game winning streak under Urban Meyer with a resounding thud. But the Buckeyes still have plenty to play for this bowl season with a marquee matchup against the Clemson Tigers in the Discover Orange Bowl. If Ohio State hopes to start a new winning streak this bowl season, however, they will need to fix whatever is ailing Braxton Miller and the passing attack.
Miller came into the 2013 season as a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate but saw his campaign fall off the tracks with an early injury that cost him some games. When he came back, however, Miller showed off a more complete quarterback ability. There’s no denying what he can do in the open field as a runner, but for a stretch this season, Miller was looking almost as dangerous with his arm, culminating in a clinic put on the Purdue Boilermakers where he completed 19-of-23 for 233 yards and four touchdowns.
But Miller has regressed throwing the football over the final month of the season. Since the Purdue game, Miller has struggled to connect with his receivers on a consistent basis. In three of the last four games, Miller has failed to connect on at least 50 percent of his throws, including a dreadful 8-for-21 performance against Michigan State in the dome at the Big Ten Championship. During that span, his rushing has gone way up, running for 623 yards (155.75 per game) and eight touchdowns over the last four games but that may be out of necessity as Miller struggles to find his touch in the passing game.
Against Clemson, they’ll need to get back to some kind of balance with Miller making things happen through the air. He has shown the ability to make strong, accurate throws this season but has fallen off lately. Can he rediscover his rhythm in the passing game in time to lead the Buckeyes in the Orange Bowl?