Guiton Shines In Spring Game Performance

Ohio State may have to deal with a quarterback controversy in August when fall camp begins. Terrelle Pryor will obviously be the starting quarterback when the Buckeyes take the field Sept. 2 vs. Marshall, but the battle to be Pryor's backup has heated up thanks to an impressive spring game showing by redshirt freshman Kenny Guiton.

When asked by a reporter if pink was his color, quarterback Kenny Guiton smiled and said no. The 65,223 people at Ohio Stadium who watched the spring game on Saturday might beg to differ.

The final member of Ohio State's 2009 recruiting class capped an impressive afternoon by throwing a 45-yard touchdown pass to Taurian Washington with 55 seconds remaining to give the Gray team a 17-14 victory.

"Today, it was my color," Guiton said of the pink hue on his No. 13 jersey.

On a day in which starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor played only one quarter, Guiton led OSU's signal callers with 167 yards on 11-of-21 passing. He was also the only backup quarterback to throw a touchdown pass.

Guiton looked composed and confident driving the Gray to victory late in the fourth quarter. He led his offense on an 11-play, 89-yard drive that started at the Gray 11 following a Nate Oliver interception of a Joe Bauserman pass in the end zone. Guiton completed five passes during the drive, none better than the 45-yard strike to Washington that proved to be the game-winning play.

"I had to go to my moneymaker man," Guiton said of Washington. "He got me (a touchdown) in the first half, so I thought if I try him a few times in the second half, he'd come through again. And he did."

Washington gave Guiton credit for the play's success.

"Kenny threw a great ball. All I had to do was catch it," Washington said.

Guiton also converted a fourth-and-2 on the final drive thanks to a 15-yard pass to fullback Zach Boren and a third-and-16 on a 16-yard connection to Joe Cech. Guiton's performance most likely improved his chances at beating Bauserman for the right to be the first to back up Pryor next fall. While Guiton impressed, Bauserman struggled. The former minor-league pitcher completed 5 of 14 passes with two interceptions.

"I'm hoping so, but that's no something I can answer," Guiton said when asked if he helped his chances at being the No. 2 quarterback. "That's on the coaches, but I'm definitely hoping so."

The Guiton-to-Washington connection worked well Saturday. In addition to the game-winning pass in the fourth quarter, the duo reached the end zone on a 28-yard connection on a pass over cornerback Devon Torrence in the first quarter.

Washington said Guiton had one of his best days as a Buckeye.

"His confidence was sky high today, and it showed," Washington said.

Guiton's teammates and coaches have been impressed with the 6-2, 190-pound quarterback's progress since committing to Ohio State in January 2009. The Houston Eisenhower product gave Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel his verbal commitment mere days after top QB prospect Tajh Boyd spurned the Buckeyes in favor of Clemson. Guiton took a redshirt last season and led the scout team offense. He did get to travel with the team on road trips, however, and said the experience of visiting places like Beaver Stadium and Michigan Stadium for the first time was special.

"I saw that as an honor," Guiton said. "It was my first year, and I got a redshirt, but I liked it a lot."

Guiton apparently made a good impression on his teammates in his first year-and-a-half on campus. It would be hard to find any Buckeye with a negative word to say about the redshirt freshman, and his efforts on the field led to Guiton being the second quarterback picked in spring draft behind Pryor.

"I'm a likeable guy to be around," Guiton said. "I'm outgoing, I love to talk, I'm somewhat funny. Everybody likes being around me. I don't know anyone I'm mean to, so I think that's how I've earned some respect."

Fellow redshirt freshman Jack Mewhort said Guiton is a positive influence among his teammates.

"Nobody dislikes Kenny," Mewhort said. "In fact, everybody loves Kenny. He's just Kenny. I don't know how to explain it."

Added Washington: "He's a great kid on and off the field."

When quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano met reporters earlier in the spring, he raved about Guiton's ability to pick up what the coaches are teaching him in a quick manner.

"I only have to tell Kenny things once and he gets it between his ears," Siciliano said. "That's part of the battle as a quarterback. As long as he can do that, he's going to progress nicely."

"He's been a pleasant, pleasant surprise for us being this far along," Siciliano added. "I wasn't sure he'd be this far along at this stage, but I'm very happy with his progress."

After Saturday's performance, Buckeye fans are also happy with Guiton's progress.

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