Braxton Miller

Kirk Cousins advises teams like OSU to take it slow with frosh QBs


In CFT’s preseason Top 25 countdown, one of the biggest reasons why Ohio State, even with all of their off-field issues, came in at No. 20 was the fact that I’m banking on new head coach Luke Fickell to realize sooner rather than later that true freshman Braxton Miller is the Buckeyes’ best option at quarterback.

While he’s the youngest, Miller’s also easily the most talented player in a less-than-stellar group that includes projected starter Joe Bauserman.

Speaking from experience, however, Kirk Cousins thinks it might be best to ease Miller onto the field during his first season in Columbus.  Instead of rushing Miller, the senior Michigan State quarterback said, allow the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the Class of 2011 to grow and mature into the role.

“Too many people want everything right now and they think they need to play right away,” Cousins told Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “The simple truth is that quarterbacks who are able to wait and are able to grow and learn without being thrown into the fire a lot of times end [up] having much more successful careers.

“Many quarterbacks want to be thrown in right away and that’s fine, but they’ve got to understand that’s going to come with some difficult times.”

One of the reasons we feel that Miller would be fine from the get-go is actually twofold.  One, and even with the five-game suspension for starter Boom Herron, OSU has more than enough talent in the backfield to run the football effectively.  And, two, the Buckeyes, as they do almost every other year, should field a very talented defense and will likely be the unit of strength throughout the entire 2011 season.

If those pieces are indeed in place, Cousins acknowledges Miller would have a much “easier” time stepping in right away and filling Terrelle Pryor‘s shoes.

“If you’re at a place that’s playing a true freshman, it’s a lot easier when you have a running game and defense,” Cousins said. “If you’re at a place that’s not going to run the ball successfully or not going to stop people, there’s a lot more put on you.”

Miller was an early enrollee and impressive enough during spring practice to put himself squarely in the mix in the race for the starting job.  It remains to be seen if that momentum carries through to summer camp, but the talent level Miller possesses suggests very strongly that it should.

No. 1 Ohio State puts sleeper hold on Maryland’s upset bid

Ezekiel Elliott, Kelon Adams
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Doesn’t it feel like we have seen this all before? No. 1 Ohio State, just as defending national champion Florida State did a year ago, has continued to skate by with some closer-than-expected results without falling victim to a loss. That trend continued Saturday afternoon in Columbus, with the Buckeyes improving to 6-0 and 2-0 in the Big Ten after pulling away from Maryland (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten), 49-28. The Terrapins tied Ohio State at 21-21 in the third quarter, but Cardale Jones completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall and J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliot each scored on the ground as the Buckeyes finished on a strong note.

This season may not have gone quite to plan for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes continue to win games and shove aside any concerns along the way. Jones completed 20 passes for 279 yards and a pair of touchdowns without an interception. Elliott went over 100 yards and scored twice. Joey Bosa got a chance to do his usual shrug after a big play (Bosa also avoided getting an ejection for targeting after a mandatory instant replay review). Did Ohio State give up some big plays? Yes, they did. The good news is Ohio State makes plays when they need them the most, and ultimately that is what matters most. Ohio State does not need to blow out its opponents by 20 points on a weekly basis as long as it continues to win games. With four playoff spots up for grabs, Ohio State will secure one if it does not lose a game. The margin for error with a loss is an unknown variable, even as the season reaches its midway point.

Halfway through the season, Urban Meyer seems to have enough reason to stick with Jones and bring an end to that question some still have about the offense. Jones is going to be the quarterback, but Barrett will still get some play as well. Ohio State’s success will be determined by Elliott’s abilty to dominate a game.

Next up for Ohio State will be a home game against Penn State. The Nittany Lions took on a banged-up Indiana team in State College this afternoon. The Hoosiers may have taken Ohio State to the limit last week, but Penn State took advantage of a worn out Indiana team in  26-7 victory. Ohio State demolished Ohio State the last time Penn State visited, 63-14 in 2013, but it was the Nittany Lions that gave Ohio State its biggest scare of the season aside from Virginia Tech last year, with the Buckeyes escaping with an overtime victory on the road.

Maryland will head into a bye week, and it remains unconfirmed whether Edsall will be back to coach Maryland’s next game in two weeks. Reports late this week suggested the school will be moving on from Edsall as head coach, which means Maryland could be going with an interim head coach when Maryland takes on Penn State on October 24 in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.

Not dead yet! Longhorns make statement in upset over No. 10 Oklahoma

Jerrod Heard

The demise of the Texas Longhorns has, somewhat, been exaggerated. A college football blueblood largely left for dead put the Big 12 on notice Saturday afternoon in Dallas by upsetting No. 10 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, 24-17. After the game the players hoisted head coach Charlie Strong up as if the team had just won a national championship. You know what? Texas deserved that moment to release some tension with a unified show of joy.

After being flattened last week by TCU, Texas was a program in a big mess with players tweeting at halftime and upperclassmen and underclassmen not seeing eye-to-eye. This was also a good Oklahoma team Texas just defeated. The Sooners climbed to a top 10 ranking after flexing some muscle against West Virginia and showing some good things on offense. None of those good things showed up early enough against the Longhorns though.

Texas held Oklahoma to fewer than 100 yards of total offense in the first half. The Sooners converted just three of their 12 third-down plays, while Texas managed to go 9-of-15 on third downs. For Texas, it was all about getting the running game going to take Oklahoma out of it from the start. D’Onta Foreman led all players with 117 yards and quarterback Jerrod Heard added 115 rushing yards to go with his selectively efficient passing performance (8-of-10 for 53 yards and a touchdown). Johnathan Gray also chipped in with 76 rushing yards. Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine carried the football 10 times for just 36 yards and a touchdown. Considering the production Perine showed last season, this was another disappointing result for the Sooners. Perine has rushed for more than 78 yards in a game just once this season (152 yards vs. Tulsa).

This was the first victory in the rivalry game for Strong, and the second win in three years against the rival Sooners for the Longhorns. This season may still be a huge rebuilding year for Texas, but a win against Oklahoma can help the rebuilding process pick up the pace after starting the season with a 1-4 record. There will still be some difficult games ahead for Strong’s Longhorns (Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia), but everybody in Austin deserves at least one day just to celebrate this win few people saw coming.

Texas looks to make it two wins in a row in two weeks when the Longhorns come off a bye week against Kansas State. Oklahoma will take on Kansas State next week in Manhattan.