Co-Captain Guiton Stands Out Again

Kenny Guiton has become that rare animal in football, the backup quarterback who is a fan favorite but not at the center of a quarterback controversy. Guiton has gotten to that point thanks to his effective play and easygoing manner, and he added to his resume Saturday by leading another TD drive vs. Buffalo.

Ohio State backup quarterback Kenny Guiton didn't waste much time validating the high offseason praise the Buckeyes coaching staff has had for him.

Hailed by head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman as the best backup quarterback in America during the summer months, Guiton, a senior and game captain, looked the part in No. 2-ranked OSU's 40-20 opening-game win against the Buffalo Bulls at Ohio Stadium on Saturday.

Just as Guiton was called upon to produce in the absence of injured OSU starting quarterback Braxton Miller several times during 2012 season, Guiton proved his mettle and readiness again Saturday by helping convert a pair of two-point conversions after OSU scored on its first two possessions. Then, with Miller sidelined because of leg cramps in the second half, Guiton flicked a 21-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Chris Fields at the 3:16 mark of the third quarter to put the game out of reach.

For some, Guiton's performance against the Bulls was reminiscent of his heroic cameo appearance during OSU's Oct. 20 come-from-behind overtime win against Purdue. For Meyer and teammates, it's simply more of what they see from the player on a daily basis.

A common theme in Guiton's success is the connection he appears to have developed with fellow fifth-year senior Fields, who also caught a touchdown from Guiton late in the Purdue game last year to help force overtime.

"There's something up with me and him," Guiton said. "That's my roommate and that's the guy I came in with, and since day one we've been clicking. Just throwing touchdowns to him is so cool to me."

But it's more than being on the same page with Fields. Through the kind of preparation that would befit most starting quarterbacks, Guiton's readiness was clear. His lone completion was evidence of this.

The play – a designed play-action fake – began with junior receiver Devin Smith who, flanked by Fields, sprinted toward the south end zone and managed to pull two defenders with him. Fields, who delayed his run slightly and looped toward the corner of the end zone after Smith had passed, was wide open. Guiton said he knew the receiver would be there, and that he'd be unmarked.

"I try to make sure I know everything the defense has done throughout that game and I try to make sure I know what their game plan is – what they like to do in certain situations," Guiton said. "When I get out there and I see them moving around, I already know where they're moving to. So, that's one thing I always try to do, you know, and once you know what they're doing, it's a lot easier to know where your guys are going to be."

Guiton floated the ball to Fields who made the catch comfortably to put OSU up, 37-20. OSU senior kicker Drew Basil would add a fourth-quarter field goal to finish the Buckeyes' scoring on the day.

Seeing Guiton's preparedness pay off is a common occurrence for OSU football players. Fifth-year senior Jordan Hall, who rushed for two touchdowns and a career-high 159 yards against the Bulls, said he is never surprised to see Guiton succeeding on the field.

"If you see how he puts in the work in the offseason, you wouldn't think he was the backup," Hall said. "In practice he's taking mental reps because Braxton gets a lot of reps, and he's watching every play and he deserves everything that happens to him when he's in the game."

Any backup quarterback can claim to be game-ready, but the statement means something more coming from Guiton, who saw time under center in four consecutive games during the undefeated 2012 season (Sept. 29 vs. Michigan State, Oct. 6 vs. Nebraska, Oct. 13 vs. Indiana, Oct. 20 vs. Purdue) and threw for 139 yards and two touchdowns. That success continued on opening day in 2013.

"I'm ready," he said. "I'll always be ready."

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