Thanks to Kenny Guiton, a fifth-year senior, Ohio State's offense remained in good hands on Saturday following Braxton Miller going down with an MCL sprain, as reported by ESPN's Shannon Spake. The quarterback proved, yet again, that the Buckeyes have the luxury of possessing two quarterbacks capable of running the show.
ESPN reports Braxton Miller has slightly sprained MCL. Meyer says he could play through however unnecessary today (see 35-0)— Ohio State Football (@OhioStFootball) September 7, 2013
Ohio State is going to be careful with Braxton Miller, the Heisman-candidate quarterback, and that meant an entire game with Guiton instead of Miller returning with a brace to give it a go against San Diego State. A smart safety precaution for the Buckeyes, a team with national title hopes, and one that ultimately did not cost them much in the way of production.
Guiton went 19-of-28 for 152 yards and added another 83 yards on the ground as Urban Meyer's team ran up 42 points and 445 yards of total offense. Unlike most teams that see a drop-off when the backup enters the game, Ohio State remained prosperous, thanks to its unique position.
Kenny Guiton is not your average backup quarterback. He's not an underclassman low on experience; the fifth-year player has played in some big spots during his career. He's not a limited football player; the former 3-star recruit out of Texas, per Rivals.com, just happens to be on the same roster as the super talented Braxton Miller. He's not a quarterback that does not know what to do; his grasp of the offense is superb.
In other words, Ohio State, under Guiton's lead, was in great shape against San Diego State. Guiton ran, Guiton threw and he got a chance to show the world what most Ohio State fans already knew, that he is more than capable.
As Rob Oller of The Columbus Dispatch noted, Guiton is college football's best insurance policy. While many college football teams struggle to find just one quarterback, the Buckeyes have two. After a season opener that saw Ohio State rely heavily on Miller's legs to get the offense rolling, Guiton showed what the Buckeyes have been building toward, as Eleven Warriors pointed out:
There's no question Braxton Miller is a better talent, but Guiton runs the option better.— Eleven Warriors (@11W) September 7, 2013
Guiton was decisive with the football in both the run and the pass. He made good reads, and as the offense is designed to do, he let his playmakers show up in big ways in the open field. Many times that playmaker was himself, as the defense neglected the quarterback on several occasions, leaving Guiton to pick up big yards.
The Buckeyes are in good hands with Guiton as they prepare for a West Coast trip to take on Cal next weekend. Miller's injury progress will be monitored, but the team's advancement will remain on track. Guiton, like Miller, has to improve in the passing game, but on the ground, the Buckeyes will continue to roll.
With no need to rush back Braxton Miller, expect the junior to be fully healthy when he returns, be it next week or later on. Guiton is a luxury that few teams possess, a second quarterback on the roster capable of carrying the team to victory.