Backup Comes Through For Ohio State - Again

Ohio State fifth-year senior Kenny Guiton was previously best known for leading the Buckeyes to a comeback victory against Purdue last season. Now after coming in for an injury Braxton Miller and leading OSU to a 42-7 rout of San Diego State on Saturday, Guiton will be known for more.

After playing in spot duty for junior starting quarterback Braxton Miller a week earlier against Buffalo, fifth-year senior backup QB Kenny Guiton told reporters afterward that he is always ready to enter the game when called upon.

He was telling the truth and proved it Saturday afternoon during Ohio State's 42-7 victory against overmatched San Diego State.

Miller led Ohio State deep into San Diego State territory Saturday afternoon on the Buckeyes' first offensive possession. Facing a fourth-and-1 from the SDSU 12-yard line, Miller rolled right and raced toward the end zone. He picked up the first down, crossed inside the 10 and was then twisted down by an Aztec defender. Miller was hit by two other defenders, causing his helmet to fly off.

Then, as the players got up from the pile of humanity, Miller stayed down. That caused Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer to jump around and look behind him – presumably for Guiton to tell him to take the field.

It was too late. Guiton was already well on his way. The Ballad of Kenny Guiton was going to get another verse. The Houston native took all but seven of Ohio State's 70 offensive snaps and not only managed the game but also played well. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Guiton also led the Buckeyes with 83 yards on nine carries.

"The old right-hander steps in again," Meyer said. "(He) really did a nice job."

Often called the best backup quarterback in the nation by coaches and teammates, Guiton got to show off his full skill set against the overmatched Aztecs. He ran the option well, making solid decisions on whether to keep or pitch the ball, and showed an ability to find the open receiver when it was the time to throw.

"I don't think I had much nervousness," he said. "Once I got in, I took my first hit and had my first throw. After that it, it was just, ‘Let's go.' "

Guiton was one of eight Buckeyes named captain, and to the outside observer, that might seem peculiar. But for those close to Guiton, his performance on Saturday was anything but a surprise.

"He's just very positive," senior offensive lineman Andrew Norwell said. "He's a great leader. He brings us energy when he comes in. He doesn't miss a beat. I was very proud of him today. He did a great job. … Everybody loves him in the locker room. He's a great dude."

Freshman tailback Dontre Wilson had even higher praise for his fellow Texan, calling him one of the best quarterbacks in college football.

"It's great to have him as a backup," said Wilson, who scored the game's first touchdown on a pitch from Guiton. "We really didn't lose a lot. Braxton is a Heisman candidate, but Kenny is a great (quarterback)."

Meyer joked that Guiton succeeds despite being too slow and with subpar arm strength. Still, Guiton did show off some wheels in not only leading the Buckeyes in rushing but scoring on a 44-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

"That was pretty cool," Guiton said of his scoring scamper. "What we were doing was just going fast on them, and they were getting tired. After a while we went (with an empty backfield) … and once they lied up, I saw we had the numbers for the run.

"My O-line did a great job all day long giving me time on runs. I just followed them to the end zone."

The performance against San Diego State gave Guiton just another positive memory he'll savor once his playing career has ended. For now, however, Guiton will continue to enjoy the ride.

"I'm at a great university, one of the best universities in the nation – the best in my mind," Guiton said. "Getting an education is great, and getting to play? I like to cherish every moment of it. Like I tell my teammates, you have to. You have to cherish every moment you get on that field.

"Today was another day for me to cherish."

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