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Not so Fast Everybody, Kenny Guiton Hasn't Played a Real Defense Yet

Sep 21, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Kenny Guiton (13) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Florida A&M Rattlers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew CoppensContributor IJanuary 2, 2017

Is there a hotter backup quarterback in all of college football than Ohio State's Kenny Guiton

He has lit the college football world on fire over the past three games, even setting the Ohio State record for most touchdown passes in a single game with six this past weekend against Florida A&M. 

It has led some to wonder out loud if Ohio State would be better off with Guiton at quarterback and to leave Braxton Miller on the bench. 

After all, you are supposed to ride the hot hand, right? 

Guiton certainly has had a hot hand over the past two-plus games since Miller's knee sprain against San Diego State. 

In fact, Gution has racked up 643 yards on 64-of-94 passing with 12 touchdowns. He's also rushed for 184 yards and one touchdown so far this season. 

Not bad numbers, to say the least. 

However, when you take a look behind the raw numbers perhaps things aren't as impressive as they would lead you to believe.

Why? Well, those numbers have come against two of the worst FBS defenses in San Diego State and Cal as well as a terrible FCS opponent in Florida A&M. 

It's about as ugly as it can get when you look at the numbers for the Cal and San Diego State defenses on the season.

In fact, here is exactly where those two defenses rank nationally in some of the most important statistical categories: 

CategoryCalSan Diego State
Total Defense121st (556.3yds)103rd (451.7yds)
Points Allowed119th (42ppg)114th (38.7ppg)
Passing Defense110th (294.3yds)114th (303.3yds)
Rushing Defense121st (262yds)56th (148.3yds)

Those are about as bad of numbers as you could get for a sample size in which to gauge just how good of a quarterback someone is. 

Now, before you go all crazy about "well, didn't you see him play and didn't you see him make all the throws and look efficient?" 

Yes, of course I did, but I also saw this happen to Cal's defense: 

13-of-28 for 308 yards with a touchdown passing and 60 yards rushing. 

That was the stat line of Portland State quarterback Kieran McDonagh in their 37-30 loss to the Golden Bears. 

Again, we are talking about an FCS quarterback crushing the Cal defense too. 

One would hope that if a quarterback of a less than awesome FCS opponent can put up those numbers, then the backup QB at Ohio State could at least do the same, if not a bit better.

Was it nice to see that Guiton could shred bad defenses and do it more than once? Sure. 

However, what did we really learn about Guiton at the end of the day? The truth is we really don't know how he would look against a very good defense. 

Guiton has faced very little challenge and very little pressure to force him to make more than a basic decision. 

No play exemplifies that more than his record-setting touchdown on Saturday against Florida A&M. Guiton had about 10 seconds in the pocket and hit a wide-open Evan Spencer in the back of the end zone. 

It wasn't like Guiton was scrambling around for his life, making a ridiculous throw and hitting a pin-point pass to a guy in double coverage across the other side of the field or anything. 

Now, we have also seen him hit some great throws, even in that same Florida A&M game. In particular I'd point the first touchdown pass to Evan Spencer in which he roped a pass through two zones of coverage to hit Spencer down the sideline in the end zone. 

However, doing that against FAMU and doing it against teams like Wisconsin and Penn State on a week in, week out basis are two very different things.

If Miller is somehow not able to go this Saturday against Wisconsin, then we are likely to see just what Guiton really has.

Chances are the numbers put up so far weren't a total fluke.

But until those numbers happen against a less than bottom-third defense, perhaps the gushing over Guiton needs just a little bit of perspective to it. 

 

*Andy Coppens is the Big Ten Lead Writer. Follow him on Twitter to continue the Big Ten discussion.

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