|Ohio State backup quarterback Kenny Guiton leads Buckeyes to rout of San Diego State Saturday in Columbus. (AP)|
COLUMBUS — During the opening offensive series of Saturday's tilt against visiting San Diego State, Ohio State Heisman Trophy candidate, Braxton Miller, was forced to leave the contest after spraining his knee on a quarterback keeper.
Luckily for the No. 3 Buckeyes, though, they have a sizable insurance policy in place for their star player ... and its name is Kenny Guiton.
Guiton — the Buckeyes' popular backup quarterback — displayed why he was named a captain by his teammates this off-season, leading the Buckeyes to a 42-7 blowout win, posting 235 total yards and three touchdowns in Miller's absence.
The win is the Buckeyes' 14th straight — currently the longest streak in the nation.
"He's as good of a backup quarterback as there is in the country," San Diego State head coach Rocky Long said following the game. "I don't know how they decide which one starts to be honest with you. I think both of them are very good players.
"When one goes down, I don't think they lose anything."
After Miller went down on the opening series with a sprained MCL, Guiton took the reins and guided the Buckeyes to six touchdowns on the first nine possessions of the game, and did most of it in Miller-esque fashion, beating the defense with both his arm and his legs.
Although Guiton connected on two touchdown passes in the win — both to receiver Philly Brown — it was his running ability which was most reminiscent of Miller, rushing for a team-high 83 yards (on nine carries), including a dazzling 44-yard TD scamper with 5:33 to play in the second quarter that put the Buckeyes ahead 28-0.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who improved to 14-0 as the Buckeyes' mentor, said it is Guiton's field management that makes him such a formidable player to count on when needed.
His management of the game and the reads and those type of things and getting us in play ... he did that very well," Meyer said of Guiton. "And he always does that.
"He's a coach. He really is, I told him that. He needs to coach someday because he's got a really good mind and got incredible leadership skills."
"I take pride in the fact the offense almost does not skip a beat when I come into the game," Guiton said Saturday following the win. "I just do my best to be a leader in that way. I let the team know everything is going to be okay."
Guiton wasn't the only Buckeye gashing the Aztec defense, as tailbacks Jordan Hall and Dontre Wilson helped Ohio State total 265 yards on the ground.
Hall, who put up a career-high rushing total in the Buckeyes' season opener a week ago, had another solid outing, toting the rock for 75 yards and a touchdown.
The true freshman Wilson also found the going good Saturday, tallying 51 yards on five carries (10.2 avg.), including the game's first touchdown from seven yards out.
"When I saw the end zone I had to get there," Wilson said. "I think about it (fumbling last week) all the time. I wish I had that play back, but you have to move on and keep playing. I'm way faster than a lot of people.
"Now, I have to go out and prove it."
Wilson also added three receptions in the win.
Defensively, the Buckeyes held the Aztecs in check most of the game, preventing them from scoring until 1:41 mark of the third quarter.
The Buckeyes held the Aztecs' running attack — ranked 20th nationally in 2012 — to just 64 yards in the win (2.4 avg.). Ohio State also forced four turnovers in the win.
"Our defense played outstanding. To keep that group under wraps ... " Meyer said.
"I never expected what happened today. That team won nine games (in 2012). Their head coach is a guy I have a lot of respect for ... I think they're going to end up being a good team."
Of course, the main story line of the game was Guiton's relief of Miller.
Following the game, Meyer was asked if Guiton reminds him of his former backup quarterback during in his second season at his previous job (Florida) — a "backup" named Tim Tebow?
"I'll probably stay away from that because I don't need headlines," Meyer smiled.