The crowd went wild and music even played for a brief moment at Beaver Stadium when Sean Stanley leveled Carlos Hyde and kept him out of the endzone during a play in the third quarter.
However, there was one problem for Stanley and the Penn State faithful — Hyde didn’t have the football.
The ball was in the hands of quarterback Braxton Miller, who kept it on an option read. Miller then showcased his athleticism on one of the most memorable one-yard runs of the college football season. He not only fooled Stanley with the fake, but juked by linebacker Gerald Hodges before he dived into the endzone on a 3rd-and-goal for his first of three second-half touchdowns.
“That was crazy,” Ohio State wideout Jake Stoneburner said of the play. “I’ve never seen a quarterback be able to do something like that, let alone most athletes. The sideline was just in just in awe, like everyone was covering their mouth, eyes wide open. I’ve never seen a play like that from a quarterback.”
Miller’s feet were the main reason they were able to pull away from Penn State in the second half. After a relatively quiet first two quarters, Miller carried the rock 11 times in the final 30 minutes for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
He finished with a total of 277 yards — 134 of which came on the ground.
“I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half, but there were some broken plays in the second half,” junior linebacker Glenn Carson said.
Miller’s health was a concern entering the contest. He banged his head on a tackle the week before against Purdue and was taken to a hospital, but he looked fine Saturday.
The dual-threat quarterback didn’t do much with his arm. He repeatedly missed targets in the first half, threw an interception to Adrian Amos on his first pass of the second half, and ended the game with just seven completions, only three of which came after halftime.
But Miller didn’t have to do much through the air. Mainly by keeping the ball on option reads, the 6-foot-2 Hubler Heights, Ohio product sliced through Penn State’s defense.
“He can go anywhere,” linebacker Mike Hull said. “He can take it right up the gut, he can bounce it outside. He’s just a good player.”
Miller threw the ball 19 times, and his biggest completion came on his last pass. With Ohio State leading by 12 points in the fourth quarter, Miller found Stoneburner down the middle on a third down.
Stoneburner made a catch over safety Jake Fagnano and took it 72 yards to the endzone to put an end to any thoughts of a Penn State comeback.
The Nittany Lions had some success containing other running quarterbacks this season in games against Illinois, Temple and Navy, but Miller had his way against them.
Miller now has 1,023 rushing yards and 1,527 passing yards this season for the undefeated Buckeyes and is in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race. Coach Bill O’Brien called him one of the top five players in the country.
“We stopped him at times and other times we obviously didn’t,” O’Brien said. “So we have to go back and watch the tape and see again what we can do better to stop a player like that.”
To email reporter: email@example.com