A survey conducted in the past week by Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors revealed an impressive statistical note about Ohio State University senior quarterback Braxton Miller: he leads all current FBS quarterbacks in game-winning touchdown drives in the fourth quarter or overtime with six. The drives are defined as scoring drives that put the winning team ahead for good.
Miller has engineered at least one such game-winning drive in each of his first three seasons, and his three game-winning drives last year alone are equal to, or more than, the career totals of every other current FBS quarterback with the exception of Navy’s Keenan Reynolds, who has five, and East Carolina’s Shane Carden, with four. Ohio State opens its 2014 season against Reynolds and the Midshipmen Aug. 31 in Baltimore.
Game-Winning Scoring Drives
No. Quarterback, School
6* Braxton Miller, Ohio State
5 Keenan Reynolds, Navy
4* Shane Carden, East Carolina
3 Brandon Connette, Duke/Fresno State
3 Terrel Hunt, Syracuse
3 Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
3* Sean Mannion, Oregon State
3 Nick Marshall, Auburn
2 Jeff Driskel, Florida
2 Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
2 Cody Kessler, USC
1 Numerous QBs
*Had one game-winning drive that began in the third quarter and concluded in the fourth quarter.
Here are Miller’s six game-winning touchdown drives in the fourth-quarter or overtime:
1. 2011 vs. No. 15 Wisconsin: Miller, a freshman in his fifth collegiate start, connected with Devin Smith on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds left to play to give Ohio State a 33-29 victory.
2. 2012 vs. California: Miller rallied the Buckeyes twice in the fourth quarter, hitting Jake Stoneburner with a touchdown pass when trailing, 21-20, and then producing the game winning score – a 72-yard strike to Smith with 3:26 left to play – to secure the 35-28 win.
3. 2012 at Wisconsin: Miller rushed for 12 yards in overtime, including an eight-yard gain to set up a first-and-goal from the 2, in the 21-14 overtime victory.
4. 2013 at No. 16 Northwestern: Trailing 30-27 inside of 10 minutes to play, Miller completed four-of-four passes for 64 yards to spark an eight-play, 81-yard drive for the winning touchdown in the Buckeyes’ 40-30 win.
5. 2013 vs. Iowa: Miller finished off a 10-play, 75-yard drive for the game-deciding touchdown with just over 13 minutes to play and, on Ohio State’s next series, he led an 11-play, 64-yard drive for a field goal. The Buckeyes won, 34-24.
6. 2013 at Michigan: Miller’s 32-yard rush on first down was the big play during a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive that put Ohio State in front of its rivals for good, 42-35, with just 2:20 left to play.
Even with Ohio State averaging 45.5 and 37.2 points per game over the last two seasons, the fact that Miller has engineered more game-winning drives than any other FBS quarterback is a statement that he is one of the best players in the nation.
“I think Braxton having the most game-winning drives reinforces what we have believed about this young man all along: that he is a fierce competitor and one of the most valuable players in the country,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
Miller is 22-2 as a starting quarterback over the last two seasons; 26-8 overall.