COLUMBUS, Ohio — When star quarterback Braxton Miller cried out in pain and crumpled to the ground during No. 5 Ohio State’s practice on Monday, coach Urban Meyer wasn’t certain what had happened.
“Oh, it was devastating. It was a bad deal,” Meyer said glumly on Wednesday. “First of all, I didn’t see exactly what happened and I thought someone hit him. I went berserk, saying, ‘What happened?’ (The coaches) looked at me and I said, ‘No one hit him?’ ”
No, no one tackled or was even rushing the two-time Big Ten player of the year and Heisman Trophy candidate. Still coming back slowly from February surgery on his right shoulder, it took just a 7-yard pass — with no one around — to sideline Miller for the season. This time, he had sustained a torn labrum.
Rabid Buckeyes fans have had a mournful look on their faces ever since word leaked out about Miller’s injury.
The Buckeyes will get through it by replacing Miller — with 8,346 yards of total offense and 84 passing and running touchdowns in his Ohio State career — with redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who has never taken a snap in a college game.
Barrett has the backing of his teammates.
“He’s very focused,” linebacker Curtis Grant said. “He’s a very mature kid. He’s going to be fine. He just has to get his rhythm down with everybody and keep going forward.”
Player dies at 21: Kent State football player Jason Bitsko, who was slated to start at center for the Golden Flashes this season, died Wednesday.
Police believe he passed away from an undetermined medical issue, the school said. The school said in a release the 21-year-old Bitsko was found unresponsive in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment shortly before 9 a.m.
When Bitsko failed to show up at practice, calls were placed to Bitsko’s roommate, who called 911 after finding Bitsko in his bed. Brimfield Police arrived on the scene within three minutes of the call.
The school said it is providing counseling services and support to student-athletes and athletic staff members to cope with the tragedy.
Teams will play in 2020, 2021: Michigan and Washington have decided to renew their rivalry.
The Wolverines will play the Huskies in Seattle in 2020 and will host them at the Big House in Ann Arbor the next year.
The agreement announced Wednesday by both schools marks their fifth home-and-home series. They have also played each other in the Rose Bowl four times.
Michigan leads the all-time series 7-5 and won the last matchup in 2002 on Philip Brabbs’ 44-yard field goal as time expired.
Swilling denied waiver to play: The NCAA denied former Tulsa basketball player Patrick Swilling’s request for a progress-toward-degree waiver to play football based on academic eligibility.
Tulsa made the announcement Wednesday.
Swilling was accused of sexual assault earlier this year, but no charges were filed. He was suspended from the basketball team in February and did not play again. The university eventually cleared him of any violations of the student code of conduct. The student involved in the assault accusation is suing Tulsa for failing to protect her.
Swilling averaged 8.6 points per game for the Tulsa basketball team last season. His father, Pat, is a former All-Pro linebacker who played with the Saints from 1986-92.