COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In the moments immediately after star quarterback Braxton Miller was thrown to the ground and didn't get up, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he saw an unbeaten season flash before his eyes.
"Yeah, it did," he said.
Miller hasn't been the sole reason that the Buckeyes have a perfect record and a top-10 ranking this season, after going just 6-7 a year ago. But he's the biggest reason.
Miller lay motionless for several minutes after Purdue defensive back Josh Johnson's tackle late in the third quarter on Saturday. After several minutes, he sat up, then was helped to his feet. With great effort, and flanked by trainers helping him take each step, he slowly walked to the sideline and then was carted to the locker room. He later was taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.
Shortly after the Buckeyes' 29-22 come-from-behind victory in overtime over the Boilermakers, with backup quarterback Kenny Guiton leading a mad dash for a touchdown and tying two-point conversion with 3 seconds left in regulation, Meyer sent word that he had visited Miller in the hospital and that he was fine.
Now, despite looking as if his season might be ended by a concussion or neck injury just 72 hours earlier, Miller will practice with the team on Tuesday.
"He's doing way better than what he did on Saturday," said one of Miller's friends, safety Christian Bryant. "He's moving around, talking to guys, laughing. He's doing pretty good right now."
Meyer stopped short of saying he was surprised that Miller was OK.
"He's very strong. He takes care of himself," Meyer said. "I don't want to say (I am) amazed, but he's a tough guy."
The sophomore quarterback had briefly gone to the sideline in two games earlier in the season due to minor injuries. Each time he quickly returned.
Not this time. He appeared groggy and in intense pain as he was helped off the field, his legs wobbly. He was almost doubled over on the motorized cart on which he left the field to polite applause.
His teammates were shaken.
"Anytime you see your quarterback go down like that, it strikes a lot of different emotions," offensive lineman Reid Fragel said. "It's tough to see. You immediately ask, 'Is he all right? Is he OK?'"