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BIG TEN SPOTLIGHT NO. 21 NEBRASKA AT NO. 12 OHIO STATE

7 p.m. today • Ohio Stadium • TV: Ch. 5 (100.3-FM)

QBs nearly mirror images for Buckeyes, Huskers

  • Article by: RUSTY MILLER
  • Associated Press
  • October 6, 2012 - 12:40 AM

COLUMBUS, OHIO - In preparing for its game on Saturday night against No. 21 Nebraska and quarterback Taylor Martinez, Ohio State found the perfect surrogate.

The 12th-ranked Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) didn't have to go far to find someone with Martinez's acceleration, vision, lane-changing speed and knack for lengthy touchdown runs.

He was just across the line of scrimmage: quarterback Braxton Miller.

Their styles might be slightly different, just like their body types. But there also are a lot of similarities between the two players, starting with how fast they are.

"The defenses will not be shocked by the speed," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said of the lightning-fast signal-callers. "They've seen it in practice."

The game will be a matchup of run-first, pass-later quarterbacks who are closer to Usain Bolt than Dan Marino.

Miller is second in the Big Ten in rushing and 13th in the nation at 115.4 yards per game. Martinez tops the conference in pass efficiency and is 11th in the country. With better running backs to hand off to, Martinez is averaging only 60 yards on the ground for the Huskers (4-1, 1-0).

The area where they are most similar is in their ability to create big gainers. Martinez has scored on runs of 92, 38 and 27 yards and has completed TD passes covering 68, 42, 36, 35, 29, 27, 27, 26 and 26 yards. Miller has found the end zone on runs of 65, 55, 37 and 33 yards and has thrown scoring passes of 72, 63, 44, 40, 38, 35 and 25 yards.

Defenders who have grown accustomed to chasing down their own quarterback benefit from facing someone who is just as fast.

"There's not many quarterbacks out there that run sub-4.4s, or high 4.3s," Ohio State linebacker Etienne Sabino said of both quarterbacks' speed in the 40-yard dash. "Braxton's obviously one of them, but so is Martinez."

You can plan on Martinez and Miller playing can-you-top-this before a national television audience and more than 105,000 people at chilly Ohio Stadium.

"If he sees a crease, he can hurt you with his feet," one defender said. "He's a fast guy."

That was Sabino, talking about Martinez.

Thing is, it could just as easily have been a Husker discussing Miller.

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