|Kenny Guiton (AP)|
COLUMBUS — Ohio State blocked two punts, intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble, threw for four touchdowns and added another score on the ground against visiting Florida A&M on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
And that was just in the first quarter alone.
In his second career start with the Buckeyes on Saturday, senior backup quarterback Kenny Guiton dazzled once again filling in for injured starter Braxton Miller (knee), throwing for an OSU-record six touchdown passes, en route to a 76-0 thrashing of the Rattlers. It was the highest scoring outburst for the Buckeyes since 1950.
The No. 4 Buckeyes improve to 4-0 on the season, and extend their nation's best winning streak to 16 games. They are also 16-0 under head coach Urban Meyer.
"The coaches wanted to throw the ball around, and I wanted to thank them for the trust they put in me to do that," Guiton said. "I trusted the receivers, and then I made plays."
Guiton, who threw an interception on the Buckeyes' opening offensive series, shook off the early misfire and dissected the Rattlers defense at a Heisman Trophy-like level. Guiton finished 24 of 34 passing for 215 yards and six touchdowns — all in the first half. In fact, the Buckeyes as a team didn't call for a pass in the entire second half due to the huge margin over the battered Rattlers.
Guiton's record-setting six touchdown passes went to five different receivers, as Evan Spencer (two), Jeff Heuerman, Devin Smith, Chris Fields and Carlos Hyde all hauled in scores from Guiton in the victory.
Spencer, who was on the receiving of two of Guiton's record-setting tosses, including the one that claimed the feat, stated after the game that he was honored to be a big part of the history.
"It was good to see Kenny put up the numbers he did," Spencer said. "It's awesome and special to be a part of his record." Spencer led all receivers with four receptions for 50 yards in the win.
Hyde, who made his season debut for the Buckeyes Saturday — after sitting the opening three games for his role in a bar fight — played a limited role against the Rattlers, but did make it count when he had his opportunities, recording 42 total yards and a score on just six touches in the victory.
One player who made the most of his work Saturday was true freshman tailback Ezekiel Elliott. The ultra-talented athlete from St. Louis led the team in rushing, racking up 162 yards on the ground on 14 carries, including two touchdowns from 16 and 13 yards out.
"It's been good to get a little more game experience in these early games," Elliott said. "Every time you get game reps it makes you better."
"I think Ezekiel Elliott's got an incredible future here," Meyer said. "I wanted to reward him a little bit."
The Buckeyes totaled 388 yards on the ground in the win, with eight different runners touching the football. The only problem — or luxury — the Buckeyes have in the backfield now is finding a way to utilize all of its weapons.
"I've never heard of having too many weapons being a bad thing," Spencer said. "It's a good thing to have as much depth as we do and we know as players that pretty much everyone can go in and make an impact."
Elliott shared Spencer's sentiments and added that the competition is healthy ... and the very reason they all signed to play for the Buckeyes.
"We compete and make each other better," Elliott said. "We're a very close-knit group and we work hard to get better as a team.
"We all came to Ohio State for a reason and that's to play."
The Buckeyes tallied 603 yards of total offense in the rout.
The offense wasn't the only dominating force on the field Saturday, as the Ohio State defense stifled the Rattlers' attack, holding the visitors to 80 yards of offense (2.0 avg. per play), while allowing just two first downs for the entire game.
Florida A&M didn't collect a first down until the 5:22 mark of the second quarter.
"As a defense, we shut them out and that was our goal," Buckeyes cornerback Bradley Roby said. "It's always a good feeling leaving the game with a goose egg."
The Buckeyes will now enter Big Ten conference play next Saturday, as they host Wisconsin in a Primetime showdown at the Horseshoe (8 p.m., ABC).
The question will be asked all week prior to kickoff — are the Buckeyes prepared to play a team like the Badgers, after facing such inferior competition as the Rattlers?
"Any Big Ten game is a serious game for us with our goals for the end of the season," Roby said. "It's always a battle with them. They beat us a couple years ago when we were No. 1. We're ready for them."
What does Meyer think?
"That's a great question. Obviously at midnight next week we will know," Meyer said. "I love my team, I like our coaches and the seriousness that our guys are approaching everything with, and I like the fact that we're relatively healthy.
"Are we prepared? I like to think we are. The defense had a lot of new players in there. So that question shall be answered for sure next week, but as a coach I believe we are ready."