Whether it is redshirt-senior Kenny Guiton or junior Braxton Miller playing, the sky seems to be the limit for what is becoming a high-powered offensive attack for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team.
Making his first career start against California (1-2) Saturday, Guiton led the offense to a season-high 608 total yards while tossing four touchdown passes. With Miller looking on from the sideline, unable to play due to a sprained MCL in his left knee, it was as if Guiton had been the starter all along.
“That was fun to watch,” coach Urban Meyer said. “When you’re balanced, 332 (yards) rushing, 276 (yards) passing… of course that’s what you hope it (the offense) looks like.”
The bulk of those rushing yards came from the legs of redshirt-senior running back Jordan Hall, who finished the game with career-highs in yards (168) and carries (30) while visiting the end zone three times himself. Hall said he was enjoying himself so much, he wished the game clock hadn’t run out.
“That was real fun. I wish we had another quarter,” Hall said. “Like big Marc (redshirt-senior offensive lineman Marcus Hall) said earlier, I wish we had five quarters… I loved being out there.”
The Buckeyes (3-0) and Golden Bears combined for more than 1,100 yards of total offense in the high tempo contest, but in the end it was “the old right-hander” Guiton and company who came out on top to extend the nation’s current longest winning streak to 15 games.
In what has become his standard protocol, Guiton was quick to pass along the credit to anyone but himself.
“Jordan Hall and that offensive line, they’re doing a job that I can’t even explain how good they’re doing,” Guiton said. “They’re helping me out so much with the running game, and they’re opening up running lanes for me and play action is opening up deep.”
Those running lanes allowed for Guiton to gash the Golden Bear defense for 92 rushing yards of his own, giving him a total of 368 yards from scrimmage on the day.
Junior wide receiver Devin Smith was Guiton’s favorite target in the game, as the duo connected three times for 149 yards and two scores, one of which was an OSU school record 90-yard pass on the first drive of the game.
Asked if he knew the deep pass put him in the records book, Guiton smiled and said “Oh, yeah” before again praising his teammate.
“Devin has world-class speed,” Guiton said. “Sending him on deep routes in man coverage, we’re going to try and exploit that and I saw him beat his man, I threw it up and he ran under it and he can do the rest.”
Guiton said he is excited to be in the OSU record books.
“Oh man, that’s pretty cool,” Guiton said. “I’m in my fifth year, getting my first start and it’s a blessing man, it’s a blessing. And I can’t thank no one but God.”
Senior wide receiver Chris Fields was on the receiving end of Guiton’s third touchdown of the opening quarter, hauling in a one-yard strike on fourth and goal. With Miller’s probable return to the lineup next week, Fields never hesitated in saying OSU will find a way for the backup QB to get on the field.
“You find packages and ways to put him in,” Fields said. “It’s just like the situation now with (senior running back Carlos Hyde) and Jordan (Hall), you find ways to put your playmakers in the game. Kenny prepared all week like he was the starter, and we were watching film, and the hard work paid off for him.”
That work left Guiton unsurprised with he or his team’s success against Cal.
“I prepared hard, I prepared hard. I watched so much film,” Guiton said. “Man, I killed myself with that film.”
Meyer, however, was a bit more reserved when discussing Guiton’s playing time once Miller is back and said the redshirt-senior’s recent play will make it tough to sit him out.
“I don’t know (how to approach it),” Meyer said. “I think Kenny will get in the game a little bit. Kenny’s throwing the ball better than he has. He’s throwing the ball downfield. That’s something I’ve gotta think about.”
Regardless if he gets the start next week against Florida A&M University (1-2), or at any time down the road, “Kenny G” said he knows he will be the same guy he was Saturday.
“I’ll just be the guy I’ve been for forever,” Guiton said. “I’ll be there, I’ll be a leader. I’ll be helping Braxton no matter what goes on, and if my number’s called, I’ll do the job that I can do.”
OSU is scheduled to take on Florida A&M at noon Saturday at Ohio Stadium.