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COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 8: Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is tackled by Kemal Ishmael #18 of the Central Florida Knights on September 8, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

BERKELEY -- Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has the attention of the Cal defense.

"He's like three-fourths of their team right now," defensive end Deandre Coleman said.

More than that, safety Josh Hill said. "He is their offense."

The issue for the Golden Bears (1-1) against the 12th-ranked Buckeyes (2-0) on Saturday at Ohio Stadium: Can they stop the 6-foot-2, 220-pound sophomore?

The Bears, facing Ohio State for the first time in 40 years, have struggled in recent matchups with running quarterbacks. Miller is fast and ferocious.

He rushed for an Ohio State quarterback-record 161 yards in their opening win over Miami-Ohio, then carried the ball 27 times for 141 more against Central Florida.

Through two games, he is averaging 332 yards of total offense -- the same as their opponents' team average.

Miller seems an ideal fit for the spread offense that Tim Tebow thrived on at Florida when first-year Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer was running the Gators.

"We're putting a lot of pressure on this cat," Meyer told The Associated Press after being hired. "He's special."

Because the Buckeyes have injury problems at running back, Miller has been asked to carry a bigger load than Meyer probably prefers. "Twenty-seven's a lot (of carries)," Meyer said. "I like 12 to 15."

Coach Jeff Tedford said Miller's rushes are a mix of designed plays and improvisation.

"He's physical and he's fast," Tedford said. "He's like another running back playing quarterback."

Senior cornerback Steve Williams believes Miller is faster than any quarterback the Bears have seen.

"I don't know about how well he can throw the ball, but he can run the offense well," Williams said. "He does a lot of trickery with moving the ball, and he can run."

Meyer said Miller still is developing as a passer. But his numbers this season are solid: He has completed 66.7 percent (32 for 48) of his attempts for 362 yards with three touchdowns and one interception through two games.

Still, the Bears' defensive preoccupation will be to prevent Miller from running all over the field against them. Consider these performances against Cal the past three seasons:

  • Cody Fajardo rushed for 97 yards and passed for 230 in Nevada's 31-24 victory in the season opener two weeks ago.

  • UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince ran for 163 yards in a 31-14 win last season.

  • Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, now the No. 2 quarterback with the 49ers, carved up Cal for 148 rushing yards and three TDs and 181 passing with two more scores in a 52-31 rout in 2010.

    "Kaepernick is very similar in how dynamic and how good on his feet he was, but (Miller is) the most athletic (quarterback) I've seen," Cal senior linebacker Robert Mullins said. "This guy is a power guy -- one hit is not going to take him down."

    Tedford's concern in developing a game plan is to not overemphasize stopping Miller at the expense of all else. "You still need to get a push," Tedford said of the need to rush the passer. "You can't give him all day."

    The Bears say containment will be the key. And punishment.

    "If you're going to carry it 27 times," Hill said, "we have to put a hurtin' on him. We have to wear and tear him down.

    "If we let him run around, we will lose -- that's a fact."

    For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at Twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.