After he returned from a knee injury that kept him out of two games and most of another, Ohio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller said he thought he could get back into the Heisman race with big performances in big games.
Well, if his performance this past Saturday is an indication, Miller might be right. He was 22 of 27 for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for 102 yards in a 34-24 win over Iowa, which came in with the nation's No. 9 defense and was allowing just 290 yards of offense per game.
Things we learned
From Jadeveon Clowney returning to form to Florida State's complete dismantling of Clemson, here are the 38 lessons learned from the college football weekend. More ...
Miller guided an offense that rolled up 495 total yards. Ohio State trailed by seven at halftime, but scored on four of its five second-half possessions. The drive that didn't end with a score was at the end of the game, when the Buckeyes kneeled down.
"I didn't feel this well since the first game of the season," Miller told reporters. "The knee injury set me back a little bit, but I felt pretty good out there."
Urban Meyer, who improved to 19-0 as the Buckeyes' coach, told reporters he noticed a different Miller.
"He looks better," Meyer said. "He looks like he feels great."
That's bad news for the rest of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes already have passed their biggest test, beating Wisconsin on Sept. 28. Penn State's passing attack poses a big test for Ohio State's shaky secondary this weekend, but Miller and the Buckeyes' offense should carve up Penn State's defense.
After that comes consecutive games against Purdue, Illinois and Indiana. Again, those defenses have no shot at slowing the Buckeyes unless Ohio State turns it over three or four times. The regular-season finale is Michigan on Nov. 30, and while Michigan's offense will be tough to stymie, Miller and the Buckeyes' offense should put up big numbers.
Miller isn't going to win the Heisman and almost certainly won't be a finalist. But if he continues to play as he did against Iowa, he'll regain his national prominence -- and put Ohio State in position for its second consecutive unbeaten season.