Ohio State QB Kenny Guiton sparked a phenomenal 29-22 comeback victory in overtime for the Buckeyes against the pesky Purdue Boilermakers in the 'Shoe. While he didn't show quite the arm talent or raw ability of his Heisman-candidate teammate Braxton Miller when filling in for the injured star, Guiton showed the intangibles indicating that he could maintain the Buckeyes' well-oiled, dynamic spread offense.
Firstly, it's unfair to compare Guiton to Miller, because few—if any—have the super sophomore's talent and potential. That doesn't mean Guiton isn't athletic in his own right, because he is more than capable of handling a load in the running game.
In obvious passing situations, Guiton still thrived. But it's no secret that he's exceptionally mobile, and the flow of an entire game will allow him to use his running ability even more.
Guiton demonstrated his poise and flashed the skill set necessary to continue running the Buckeyes' spread offense effectively enough to continue producing a dynamic attack.
It will be interesting to see what Guiton does if Miller misses significant time, because he looked awfully comfortable scanning the field and finding open receivers in the stunner over the Boilermakers. Even when pressure was bearing down on him, the junior hung in the pocket until the last moment to deliver the football.
What stood out from the ABC broadcast was that Guiton was mentioned as one of the most respected players on the team, which isn't something often heard about the backup quarterback on any team.
Even when he threw a late interception, Guiton came back onto the field firing, completing a crucial 39-yard pass to Devin Smith late in the game. He continued to make accurate throw after accurate throw in keying the preservation of Ohio State's undefeated season.
As the College GameDay folks from ESPN noted on Twitter, the stereotypical popularity of the backup QB is prominent, albeit under grave circumstances for the starter in Miller that the Buckeye faithful love:
Kenny Guiton could run for Mayor in Columbus right now and win. The backup QB just lead the Buckeyes to an amazing comeback win in OT.
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 20, 2012
There will be no postseason for these Buckeyes, but the fact that Guiton performed so admirably with a perfect record on the line speaks to his preparation. Head coach Urban Meyer mentioned how Guiton prepares after the game, and he certainly looked like a starter in the final minute of regulation and in overtime.
Not only did Guiton look comfortable in the pocket, but many of the plays required him to roll to both sides of the field.
That begs the question: what else does Guiton have to do to adequately fill in for Miller in the passing game?
Obviously Ohio State is not a pass-first team, thanks to the usual duo of Miller and running back Carlos Hyde in the backfield. But Guiton's transition into the lineup in the midst of adversity was nearly seamless.
As long as he can keep teams honest with his arm by making simple reads and run the zone-read with Hyde, Ohio State will continue to have a dynamic offense that will be difficult for its remaining unranked Big Ten opponents to handle.