By Perry A. Farrell Detroit Free Press
EAST LANSING, Mich. — “That guy” as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi called Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, was probably in the Spartans’ nightmares during the night.
Having grown a lot since the Spartans beat him 10-7 last season, Miller showed MSU just how far he had come at Spartan Stadium, leading the Buckeyes to a 17-16 victory Saturday .
The Spartans beat him up a couple of times and forced three turnovers, but the resilient signal-caller escaped enough tackles, made enough plays with his arm and feet and head to keep OSU (5-0) undefeated.
“He’s a great quarterback that can run the ball and we just didn’t make enough plays on him,” said Narduzzi. “He does a great job running the ball. He is their offense. He made plays and we didn’t make plays at times. We had him in the backfield a few times and he scrambles. He made some loose plays and we didn’t make enough.”
Miller threw for 179 yards and rushed for another 136. Miller was intercepted by sophomore Kurtis Drummond and fumbled twice.
Drummond would’ve scored on Miller’s second fumble with an open field in front of him with 12:14 left in the game, but the play was stopped to be reviewed and MSU was credited with the turnover and not a TD.
“I was trying to make a play; I just picked it up and ran,” said Drummond. “They started blowing the whistle and I stopped running. That’s how it ended. It looked like a fumble from where I was at. They teach us to play to the whistle and that’s what I did.”
His interception came with OSU driving. He gathered the deflected ball at the MSU 17, ending the threat with the Spartans trailing 7-3.
“I was reading where he was looking; I got a good break and he happened to throw me the ball,” said Drummond. “When you face a dual-threat quarterback, you not only have to worry about his arm but his feet.”
Miller’s big play in the passing game was a 63-yard bomb to Devin Smith down the right sideline that “Johnny Adams looked back for the ball instead of playing the receiver,” said Narduzzi.
“He’s just a really dynamic player; he can hurt you with his arm and hurt you with his feet,” said linebacker Chris Norman of Miller. “He makes loose plays and he can make things happen and that’s what he did.”
Coach Mark Dantonio was particularly frustrated because with 4:10 left, the defense couldn’t pry the ball away from Miller and the OSU offense to get a chance at winning the game.
“Defensively we had three bad series,” said Dantonio. “The long TD pass, the first series and the last series; we’ve got to get off the field. The quarterback made some plays in that series as well. We had him a number of times for negative yardage plays; probably seven or eight times I would imagine — maybe 10. He’s a spin runner after contact. You have to credit him. He’s a good football player.”