The news of Braxton Miller having to miss the entire 2014 season with a shoulder injury surely brought a saddening feeling to Ohio State fans. The Buckeyes, a preseason top-five team, were national championship contenders with Miller, a senior and Heisman contender. Without him? That’s to be determined.
The devastating news apparently resulted in a mournful mindset for Michigan State coaches and players, too, which is surprising considering the Spartans became the clear-cut Big Ten favorite once Miller went down. Losing a key player is something Mark Dantonio and his players are familiar with, though.
Coach Dantonio compared losing Max Bullough for the Rose Bowl to Braxton Miller going down. “Teams rally around that and rise up.”
— Seth Newman (@SethNewman32) August 21, 2014
“I felt bad,” Dantonio told the Lansing State Journal. “Braxton Miller is a great football player. He is a senior, has meant a lot to their football team. He is a great leader, a great young man. You don’t want something like that to happen. It’s a tough deal.
“But I would say this — we played without Max Bullough in the Rose Bowl (because of a suspension). Usually when those things happen, people rise up. Everybody becomes a little bit better. What was a negative becomes a strength later.”
Michigan State senior safety Kurtis Drummond had a similar reaction.
“Aw, I mean that’s sad,” Drummond said. “I never want to see any player get injured or have to miss games. For him to have to go through that, it’s definitely a sad time. I’m definitely praying for him and hopefully he has a speedy recovery.”
Michigan State had little trouble slowing down Miller last season. In the Big Ten Championship Game, the Spartans held the Ohio State quarterback to 101 yards passing and a 38 percent completion percentage. Miller did have 142 yards rushing.
This season, Ohio State and Michigan State meet in East Lansing, Mich. on Nov. 8.