ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
COLUMBUS -- When Urban Meyer watched his star quarterback lay on the turf in pain for the second time Saturday, the Ohio State coach said his heart nearly stopped.
Braxton Miller suffered an apparent knee injury on the fourth-quarter play as he was losing a fumble in Michigan State territory.
"I saw his knee jam right in front of me. I just love Braxton," said Meyer, whose son, Nate, regularly wears Miller's No. 5 jersey. "Braxton's my guy. I've got a great relationship with him. He's family now. … So yeah, my reaction is that it's not just because it's Braxton, it's because he's a family member."
Miller, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown and an interception and rushed for 136 yards on 23 carries, said his knee will be fine.
"It was aching at the time, but I'm going to get it secure," he said.
STILL PERFECT: Ohio State's Meyer is now 11-0 all-time in conference openers. In a head coaching career that has taken him from Bowling Green to Utah to Florida and, now, to OSU his teams have never failed to open league play at 1-0.
The Buckeyes got on the board with a 17-16 triumph at Michigan State Saturday.
"This ranks with any of the great games and wins I've had," Meyer said. "With a 5-0 start, Meyer becomes the third first-year Ohio State coach to open at 5-0. He was preceded by Carroll Widdoes, who went 9-0 in 1944 and stretched it to 12 straight wins early the next season, and Earle Bruce, who opened 11-0 in 1979.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Ohio State's first road game turned Meyer into a general manager.
The Buckeyes left several freshmen off their 70-man travel roster, including linebacker Joshua Perry -- a culprit on the blocked punt Alabama-Birmingham returned for a touchdown last week -- and defensive lineman Se'Von Pittman. Pittman, a four-star recruit from Canton, committed to Michigan State before Meyer courted him to Columbus.
QUOTABLE: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was in a better mood late Saturday than he was after the Spartans' narrow victory over Eastern Michigan last week.
"Good football game today," he said. "I thought our guys played extremely hard, and I'm proud of them. When you lose a game 17-16, you have a tendency to say 'what if' a lot and look at single plays and how they would have made a difference.
"But I was very proud of our football team. … Ohio State scored on the opening series and on a long touchdown pass. Braxton Miller is a very exciting player as we knew coming into the game, and he took a lot of bad plays and made them good ones."
EXTRA POINTS: MSU star defensive end William Gholston appeared to be knocked out cold after a violent helmet-to-helmet collision with a teammate in the second quarter. But after woozily leaving the field, he returned on Ohio State's next possession. …Starting running back Jordan Hall left the game in the first half with a minor knee injury and did not return. Junior back Carlos Hyde, who played for the first time since straining his MCL in the second game of the season, rushed for 49 yards on 11 carries.