In the third quarter of Ohio State’s 40-30 victory over Northwestern on Saturday night, head coach Urban Meyer came close to pulling his star quarterback Braxton Miller in favor of capable back-up Kenny Guiton.
How close was Meyer to pulling the trigger?
“Real close.” said Meyer in his post game press conference.
Down 23-13, Braxton Miller drove the offense from their own 35 to Northwestern’s seven yard line. There Miller fumbled for the second time in the game. He also threw an interception on a ball that floated down-field after a defender hit his arm while he was throwing it.
When the Buckeyes came back to the sidelines you could see the frustration. One offensive linemen threw his helmet in disgust. That’s when Kenny Guiton picked up a football and started to warm up.
Meyer felt for his star quarterback. “My heart bleeds,” Meyer said, “but I almost put Kenny in there.”
Ultimately, Meyer decided that pulling Miller wasn’t the “appropriate thing to do at that point”. Perhaps Meyer didn’t want to start a quarterback controversy. Perhaps he wanted to give Miller the chance to rebound, to overcome adversity.
That’s exactly what Miller did in the fourth quarter, although the heavy lifting was done by running back Carlos Hyde, who finished the game with career highs in carries (26) and yards (168).
Give Meyer credit for admitting that he was thinking about pulling Miller.