Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (5) runs for a 70 yard touchdown as Illinois defensive back Zane Petty (21) defensive back V'Angelo Bentley (2) and defensive back Earnest Thomas III (9) chase him during the first half.
COLUMBUS — It was like asking a parent to name their favorite child. Earlier this week, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was quizzed on which of his stars should be Big Ten offensive player of the year.
Braxton Miller, the electric junior quarterback? Or Carlos Hyde, the first 1,000-yard running back of his career?
“Very good question,” Meyer said, “and you’re not going to get an answer.”
The nod ultimately went to Miller, who was named Tuesday night as the league’s top offensive player for a second straight year.
The first repeat winner of the award since Indiana running back Anthony Thompson in 1988 and 1989, Miller has climbed back to the fringe of the Heisman Trophy race despite missing three early-season games with a sprained knee.
While Hyde has rushed for 1,249 yards and 13 touchdowns in Big Ten play alone, Miller was again the maestro of the league’s top offense.
He threw for for 1,759 yards, 21 touchdowns, and only five interceptions while rushing for 891 yards and nine touchdowns. He also raised his completion percentage from 58.3 percent last season to 65.7 percent.
Meyer said he expects Miller will enter the Heisman discussion with a strong performance in Saturday night’s Big Ten championship game. The second-ranked Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten) will face No. 10 Michigan State (11-1, 8-0) with a likely berth in the national title game on the line.
“This is a great opportunity for him,” Meyer said. “I think he’s Heisman‑worthy. I can’t compare him to the other guys because his stats probably aren’t as good. I haven’t even looked at that. But I’ve been around a Heisman Trophy quarterback [Florida’s Tim Tebow], and certainly Braxton is in that conversation.”
In other awards, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio beat out Meyer for Big Ten coach-of-the-year honors — extending the Buckeyes’ drought in the category to 34 years. Earle Bruce last won it in 1979.
Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland edged Buckeyes counterpart Ryan Shazier as Big Ten defensive player of the year, while Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg was freshman of the year.