Two starts. Two wins. Two school records.
Ohio State redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton is on a roll.
Guiton set another school record Saturday versus Florida A&M when he became the first quarterback in OSU history to throw six touchdowns in a single game. Just one week before, Guiton was part of the longest play from scrimmage in OSU history when he completed a pass to junior wide receiver Devin Smith that went 90 yards for a touchdown, just one minute and 53 seconds into the Buckeyes’ 52-34 win over California.
He completed all six touchdown passes against Florida A&M in the first half, breaking the record on a 15-yard strike to junior wide receiver Evan Spencer in the end zone with just five seconds remaining before the break. Guiton led No. 4 OSU (4-0) to a 55-0 halftime lead in a game the team eventually won, 76-0, against its FCS opponent.
Guiton broke a record previously held by Bobby Hoying, who completed five touchdown passes twice, once against Purdue in 1994 and again against Pittsburgh in 1995, and John Borton, who threw five touchdown passes against Washington State in 1952.
Including his six touchdowns, Guiton completed 24 of 34 passes for 215 yards, all in the first half.
The Buckeyes did not attempt any passes in the second half. Guiton was on the field for two second-half possessions, including one touchdown drive, but only because redshirt-freshman Cardale Jones, who started and ended the half at quarterback for OSU, had to return to the locker room to receive stitches for a cut in his hand.
Guiton’s two starts came in place of the Buckeyes’ regular starting quarterback, junior Braxton Miller, who has not played since suffering an MCL sprain in his left knee on the first possession of OSU’s 42-7 victory against San Diego State Sept. 7.
Considering he plays backup quarterback to Miller when the starter is healthy, Guiton said he “never thought” he would be in a situation to set school records like he has the past two games.
“I’m just trusting the game plan. I go out and I’m just trying to execute and whatever happens, happens,” Guiton said.
Coach Urban Meyer said Guiton was “prepared” to take on the starting role and did a “very good job” as a result.
“He’s an efficient player right now, he’s an incredible manager, coach on the field so, you know, his time came,” Meyer said.
In his two starts, Guiton has completed 45 of 66 passing attempts for 491 yards and 10 touchdowns with just one interception, and ran for 97 yards on 15 attempts. He led the Buckeyes to wins in both games and was named Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Golden Bears.
Guiton also completed 19 of 28 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, and ran nine times for 83 yards and a touchdown after taking Miller’s place in the win against San Diego State.
Guiton said Saturday he credits his faith for leading him to his recent success.
“I can’t even count all the blessings I’ve gotten in just these last two weeks,” Guiton said. “God has led me through this path. He led me to stay here (at OSU, rather than transfer to another school) … he said it would pay off, and I’m seeing it.”
The Buckeyes’ quarterback depth chart will not change because of Guiton’s record-breaking performance, but he could receive more playing time going forward according to Meyer.
Miller will retain his starting role once he is healthy, Meyer said following Saturday’s game.
“(Miller) is our starting quarterback,” Meyer said. “Our backup quarterback (Guiton) has earned some time.”
Meyer said he has been “going through some scenarios in (his) mind” to try to find a way to get Guiton playing time when Miller returns to the lineup.
Guiton said he thinks his teammates may listen to him more closely after his recent performances, but said his attitude will not change when he returns to the bench in favor of Miller.
“I’ve been a team player for five years, it won’t change now,” Guiton said. “I’ll be a leader just like always and I think playing has really helped me out with leading more because now I know the impact I really have on this team. I think without playing, I tend to kind of sit back and not say a lot, but now, I think I see the impact that I have and I’ll talk a little more, be more outspoken.”
Guiton said he will be ready if he does have more opportunities for playing time.
“I go out and I’ll practice hard, I’ll do whatever’s asked of me and I’ll be ready whenever my number’s called,” Guiton said.
Five different receivers caught Guiton’s touchdown passes Saturday. Spencer caught two touchdowns, while Smith, junior tight end Jeff Heuerman, redshirt-senior wide receiver Chris Fields and senior running back Carlos Hyde each caught one.
Spencer said it was “special” to play a role in Guiton’s school record.
“He prepares so hard and he’s so smart and he knows what’s going on so well that it’s hard not to trust him,” Spencer said of Guiton. “If you (are) ever down, he’s there to pick you up or if you ever make a mistake, he’s there … Braxton (Miller) does the same thing as well, but having Kenny there to be able to be behind some guys and, especially some of the young guys, is big.”
Heuerman said Guiton’s performance in the past two games has been “unbelievable.”
“Braxton’s our best player and losing him in Week 2 to injury, we really needed someone to step up and really needed someone to get us going, and I think Kenny did a great job of that,” Heuerman said. “The last three weeks he’s really executed and he’s done everything phenomenal.”
Guiton said his performances are a result of the way he’s prepared, and it’s his goal to earn the confidence of all his teammates and be a leader for OSU.
“Within the team, I think those guys really knew I could do it so they always trusted in me, and like I said, I’m trying to always gain that trust because you never really know how much trust someone has in me,” Guiton said. “I’m just trying to keep gaining, keep gaining and keep being the captain and leader I can be.”
Miller is expected to return Saturday, when OSU starts Big Ten play against No. 23 Wisconsin (3-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.