San Diego State vs. Ohio State: Buckeyes Show Depth After Braxton Miller Injury

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2013

The Ohio State Buckeyes received quite a scare when star quarterback Braxton Miller left Saturday's game with a sprained MCL, per ESPN's Brett McMurphy. However, Ohio State still pounded the San Diego State Aztecs into submission thanks to a strong performance from backup quarterback Kenny Guiton.

Coach Urban Meyer praised Guiton's play, per Rusty Miller of the Associated Press:

The old right-hander steps in again. He really did a nice job. He’s too slow, not strong-enough armed and all he does is lead, manage, distribute and has an incredible knowledge of the game. And incredible leadership skills.

And our players respond.

Miller, regarded as a prime contender to seize the Heisman Trophy, suffered a nasty hit while scrambling for a first down on Ohio State's first offensive series. The injury forced the junior out of commission for the rest of the day.

Despite Miller's early departure, the Buckeyes had no trouble steamrolling the Aztecs by a score of 42-7, demonstrating how much talent stretches across the depth chart.

Ohio State compiled 445 total yards, 402 coming after Miller's injury, falling a mere 15 short of its output last week against Buffalo.

Guiton proved he could handle the starting gig for most other schools. The senior completed 19 of his 28 passing attempts for 152 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Much like Miller, Guiton also made an impact in the ground game, recording 83 rushing yards and another score. Not bad for the No. 2 quarterback.

The reserve showed great pocket poise and arm strength with this first-quarter touchdown strike to Philly Brown, via ESPN College Football's Twitter account.

San Diego State, which surrendered 40 points to FCS opponent Eastern Illinois last week, is hardly a juggernaut; the Buckeyes performed their expected duties by handling inferior competition. However, that should not negate Guiton's impressive showing.

CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel thinks the Buckeyes have another legitimate talent on their hands.

Guiton's superb effort also eases the pressure for Ohio State to rush Miller back. Missing time would hamper his quest for the Heisman, but the Buckeyes could roll past California and Florida A&M with Guiton under center.

A quarterback controversy will not materialize after one game, but it's nice to know the backup can get the job done when needed.

However, when the Buckeyes face No. 21-ranked Wisconsin three weeks from now, they'll need their star quarterback to keep their title aspirations intact.

Since Urban Meyer took over, Ohio State is a perfect 14-0, with only NCAA sanctions stopping it from soaring to a BCS title game. Staring adversity in the eye without blinking is a crucial trait for a championship contender to possess.

An Ohio State fan couldn't have been blamed for pessimistically jumping to the worst scenario possible when Miller went down, but Guiton and Co. held the fort down with ease, proving in the process that the Buckeyes are true title contenders.