The Unlikeliest of Heroes

By Kyle Rowland on October 20, 2012 at 11:07p

When 105,290 fans – most clad in scarlet and gray – descended upon Ohio Stadium on Saturday, none probably realized they’d be celebrating an Ohio State win that will be talked about for years. 

Kenny Guiton performed well when OSU needed him most.

The Buckeyes, an 18-point favorite, overcame an injury to star quarterback Braxton Miller and a lethargic offense to stun upset-minded Purdue in overtime, 29-22. The story of the game, though, was Kenny Guiton.

The junior backup quarterback relieved Miller after he suffered an apparent head injury late in the third quarter. It’s a scenario that has been possible for Ohio State all season, with the degree of Miller’s running ability.

Miller has been hurt multiple times this season, and in each instance Guiton has come off the bench to lead a touchdown-scoring drive. He wasn’t able to engineer much success versus Purdue, though, until 47 seconds remained in the game. Prior to that, Guiton had possessions that resulted in a safety and an interception.

With no timeouts, 47 seconds on the clock and the Buckeyes 61 yards away from the end zone, Guiton engineered a seven-play drive that saved Ohio State’s undefeated season.

“A lot of nerves came through my mind,” Guiton said. “The people around calmed me down, got me ready to go and just went out and had fun with it. This is what I play football for. I have always wanted to start.”

Ohio State still needed a two-point conversion to tie. But Guiton calmly stood in the pocket and delivered a perfectly lobbed pass to Jeff Heuerman.

“I was too happy,” Guiton said. “I wanted to tell my team to calm down because I knew it wasn’t over. I was happy, but at the same time I was ready to go again.”

The Buckeyes scored a touchdown in overtime and Purdue didn’t threaten on its possession.

Miller was taken to the Ohio State University Medical Center, where he underwent a series of tests. He was released without symptoms. 

It wasn’t the first time the Buckeyes have dealt with injuries, though most of them have come on the defensive side of the ball. Senior captain Etienne Sabino suffered a broken fibula two weeks ago, causing fullback Zach Boren to move over to linebacker. Running back Jordan Hall has also missed nearly the entire season after foot and knee injuries.

“Right now we’re on fumes as far as special teams and certain positions,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “We’ve got to regroup fast and have to get a lot better.”

On the final drive and in overtime, Guiton showed a level of poise that is reserved for an experienced upperclassman. He’s been at Ohio State for four seasons, but his play has been minimal up to today.

“You have to have patience,” Guiton said.

Miller’s status for Saturday has not been determined. But the chances of Guiton playing are thought to be likely. Penn State’s defense is one of the best in the country and coming off five straight victories. Beaver Stadium is also one of the most intimidating environments in the country. Still, Ohio State is confident in its miracle worker.

“He’s not nearly the dynamic runner that Braxton is; he’s got a little less zip on his ball, but he does a really good job managing the game,” offensive coordinator Tom Herman said.

It was redemption for Jeff Heuerman.

The Great Debate

Y Hide. That was the name of Ohio State’s two-point conversion play. But it was almost the play that never happened.

On the sideline Meyer and his offensive line tried to talk Herman out of the play, which was a misdirection play.

“I asked (Herman) before we got the ball, ‘What's our two-point play,’” Meyer said. “The offensive line was screaming at me to run the ball. I mean, screaming, and same with Carlos Hyde. And I almost changed that play. I said, ‘Tom, let’s pound it at them.’ He said, ‘No, let's go with this.’ So he won that battle.

“Great call, great execution.”

Making the near perfection on the play even more surprising was the fact that Guiton had never run the play in practice. But Jeff Heuerman, the recipient of Guiton’s pass, had been a part of the play with Miller leading the offense.

“We practice it every Thursday, so I have had tons and tons of reps at it,” Heuerman said. “When they called it, you take a few deep breaths and it’s here we go. I just had to catch it.”

He did, and it was a redemption story. Heuerman was responsible for a safety in the fourth quarter after he was flagged for a block in the back in the end zone.

“Coach Vrabel told me after the game those are the hardest ones to catch, and I definitely agree,” Heuerman said. “It seemed like the ball was in the air forever.”

Chris Fields emerged from a four-year shell on Saturday.

Fields' Day

As unlikely as Guiton playing a starring role today was, wide receiver Chris Fields’ emergence was just as stunning.

Much has been talked about Fields during his four seasons in Columbus. But the production never came. On Saturday, it finally arrived.

Fields had a career-high three receptions and 44 yards, though none was bigger than the final one – a two-yard touchdown reception with three seconds left in the fourth quarter. Guiton underthrew the ball and Fields dove to catch it right at the goal line.

Fields couldn’t have picked a better time for the first touchdown of his career.

“Thirteen years of baseball paid off,” Fields said. “I used to be a centerfielder. I used to dive all over the place. I’m used to it. I knew it was a great catch, no question. They didn’t even need to review it.”

Like Guiton, Fields was pressed into the No. 1 rotation after an injury. Starting receiver Corey Brown suffered what appeared to be a head injury in the third quarter. Fields took over on punts and on offense for Brown.

“After that catch, I think I told (Fields) thank you a million times,” Guiton said. “Once I saw his hands under the ball, I knew he had it.”


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dbit's picture

Hmm, when I preview this embedded tweet, it works fine.  But when I save it, it turns to this.  Any help?

headina's picture

Shame on the people that left early. Clean out your locker. 


buckeyedude's picture

I just don't understand the mentality of leaving early to "beat the traffic" or whatever. People pay $70(at least) to go see the ball game, and then they leave after the 3rd qtr. to beat the traffic?



buck-I.8's picture

I left with 3 minutes left because I truly believed that the team refuses to win when I attend the game. They sensed I had left. I don't feel bad.

Squirrel Master's picture

At first, about 2 years ago, my 13 year old nephew said, "Guiton can throw and is pretty good"! I pretty much blew him off and said he isn't as good as Pryor. Then last year I was hoping they start with Guiton so we could see what he could do if Braxton wasn't ready. It wasn't so much my changed thoughts of Guiton but my knowledge that Bauserman was god awful! I was still skeptical about Guiton.
but late last year I started to hear stories about how Guiton has gotten better and is actually a very good passer. This spring, when I went to the spring game, I noticed that Guiton can actually go through his progressions and make good reads. Throws a decent ball too. I know he isn't Braxton but I became more confident that Guiton could play. 
I am so glad he did well today! It is really nice knowing that there is a good backup and that Guiton is capable of moving this offense down the field. good for the kid because he has been a great soldier through watching Pryor do his thing and leave the way he did, Bauserman throw his Bauserbombs and then this kid Braxton comes in and just jumps to the front of the line. Urban believes he has good leadership qualities and can be a very good QB. He isn't as good as Braxton but I believe he is good enough to be a buckeye starting QB!
Here's to having 2 good QBs for once! I hope Braxton comes right back next week but if he possibly doesn't, I am confident in Guiton to do the job!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

cinserious's picture

@squirrelmaster, amen brother!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

I feel sorry for the few thousand that left early today - couldn't have had a more exciting or improbable finish!

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Btw, any word on Brown or Hankins injuries?

JozyMozy's picture

Urban said post-game that Big Hank is fine. Haven't heard anything about Brown.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I think Big Hank was tired and needed a sammich!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

buckeyedude's picture

Specifically, a ham samich.



Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I think that 2 point conversion pass was probably the best pass of his career.  To be in that position, with a wide open TE that close - it would have been SO easy to either chunk it into the ground, fire it over his head, or just plain gun it in there too hard.  He took a moment to compose himself and delivered a perfect pass!  But Kenny G just fucking Cool Hand Luked it for the tie!  NICE Kenny!!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

buckeyestu's picture

fantastic job by kenny. just think about it, less than a minute to go, no timeouts, what a perfromance, in front of 105,000 plus. i cant imagine the pressure he faced. think what this will do for his confidence. awesome.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

With Braxton being Braxton and Guiton being Guiton, it amazes me that Bauserman even saw the field last year, let alone was our starter. I will never know what the coaching staff was thinking when they let him start last year. After this game its even more mind boggling.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Love Tressel but the one thing that drove me nuts about him was his old school philosophy of giving the starting job to the senior and that was how Fickel started to roll.  I am so glad that nonsense is out the door!  Earn it by your play on the field, not your class rank!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

bwh's picture

I honestly think Luke was over his head, surrounded by idiots (i.e. the Walrus), and didn't feel comfortable enough to make the tough decisions. I love the guy, and may be the only one in the world who still does apparently, but Fickell grew up a lot last season. While we went 6-7, the only couch on that staff that I think he really wanted there was Vrabel. Without the mind of Tressel making the puts and calls, that staff couldn't put it together.
IMO - had Fickell picked his staff, I think we'd have been 7-6. Haha.

zosima's picture

I have great respect for what Fickell has done as both a player and a coach at tOSU. I would be dishonest not to admit to crying for Heacock's defenses at points this year. However, we are wet TP thin at LB and trying to install Whither's pattern matching D. If either of those were not happening I think the D would be repectable. The silver bullets will be back next year, and Fickell will be the reason why.

bwh's picture

Amen brother.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Personally - I think Fickell has a lifetime pass at coaching at OSU!  The defense will be vastly improved next year, especially given the focus they will put on bringing in new talent.  That is where Fickell is most valuable.  From every single post I've ever read, Luke is a master recruiter and has just about as much value as his coaching skills! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

cinserious's picture

@ Wiliestbuckeye...Fickell. Bollman. 'Nuff said!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Brutus's picture

Thank you for the write up on the 2 pt conversion play.  I had been thinking that that might be the most perfectly executed, yet very sophisticated play we've seen all year from this team.  And the fact that Guiton hit the pass not having practiced it at all is amazing.  You could actually see him pause just before the pass to make sure he put just the right amount of touch on the ball.  Incredible.  Well done Kenny and thank you.

cinserious's picture

Lets not forget the amazing job the O-line did by giving Guiton enough time to do what was necessary. Big hand clap for those guys too!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

highwire's picture

Great read. Braxton is one of my favorite buckeyes of recent times, but I think Kenny G. should get more playing time...he's a great player and person. He deserves it.

bwh's picture

Can't read some of these quotes and not love these kids.
Guiton's attitude has always been top notch this year in public. Coach G deserved it, and with comments like “After that catch, I think I told (Fields) thank you a million times,” Guiton deserves it even more. 
Humility at it's finest.
Guiton for heisman!

BeijingBucks's picture

I can only hope we can take away two things from this game--
brax needs to let that stiff arm take a red shirt...
and two, opposing teams need to stop the late cheap shots cause w our Backup 'they gon learn!'
woot! Most exciting finish since 2002. 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Nik's picture

now i really want to see these sets with both kenny g and braxton that supposedly exist

bwh's picture

Pretty sure the odds that we will just increased.

cinserious's picture

We may just see that against Whisky or -ichigan. Hopefully they will both be healthy and available for those games and that set comes to fruition!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

dbit's picture

I liked the play where someone else took the snap and flipped it back to Miller so he could throw.  Just didn't work.

zosima's picture

Hyde took the snap on that... "wild Hyde" formation

xtremebuckeye's picture

Nice game these guys keep finding ways to win

O H I O is the Buckeye State

Ann Arbor Buckeye's picture

I believe the coaching staff was thinking go with experience rather than untested talent.  Altho I agree with you, I would never have played Bauserman.

Yes there are two Buckeyes in Ann arbor on this site!

cinserious's picture

Experience? What experience? playing minor league baseball counts as college football experience? dude sucked and it was apparent from the get go after pryor was gone. Millions of Buckeye fans knew it too but neither Fickell nor Bollman could handle it. How about we vacate 2011 from our memories the way the NCAA vacated our 2010 wins!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Poison nuts's picture

Thank you a million times Kenny.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

the one thing i couldnt believe was how tight kenny gs spirals were... i mean dont get me wrong he had a couple of misthrows but that ball come out tight!

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

AngryWoody's picture

Kenny G is my dawg

Our Honor Defend!

gumtape's picture

The time for guiton should have been last year in the nebraska game when braxton was hurt. No way he does worse than bauserbomb in the second half. When the reporters asked fickell about it, he said it was never considered.

High and tight boo boo

cinserious's picture

The defense stepped up big-time today and rescued a VERY underperforming offense. Sure the D played pretty soft for a good three quarters and gave up its usual big play, but with the game on the line and Brax unavailable to sprinkle his usual magic on the field, it was the D that fired up the team at key times and showed the world what OSU is all about. The offense didn't have all of its cylinders working right today but Guiton and Hyde keeps the train rollin'. It feels really good to have a backup who you can trust to properly manage the game when your star qb is out and you can tell Kenny-G has the right mindset and attitude to do it. He is without ego and seems to work hard at his craft even though its unlikely he will play much at all. True leader in a different way, I'm very proud of him and all the other second and third stringers at various positions who follow in Guiton's footsteps.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

hodge's picture

I was thinking about Purdue's decision to start on defense when they won the toss.  Honestly, at the time I didn't think it was the right call.  I mean, I understand the logic in wanting to know what you have to do; but OSU had just enjoyed a massive swing of momentum and was rolling under Guiton.  A Purdue offensive series might have helped slightly disipate that momentum, and it wasn't like Purdue was having a hard time moving the ball when they weren't trying to kill the clock.

cinserious's picture

Man the OSU defense was fired up though towards the end of the game! Hope was probably pissing his pants at that point, can't blame him for hoping Guiton was a one drive wonder.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

I hear what your saying hodge... But I don't think in overtime there is any situation where I wanna go on offense first

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

BeijingBucks's picture

When I saw the crowd jumping up and down screaming, half the sideline players doing the same not to mention the coaches... Hope was in deep Purdoo doo. 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

buckeyedude's picture

I think some consideration has to be given to whether a team is on the road or not.



Zimmy09's picture

I not only want to thank Kenny G for winning the football game but I would also like to thank him for saving my work week.  As a huge Buckeye fan unfortunate enough to live in SEC country, I sat there planning how I was going to handle the onslaught of anti-Buckeye mud being slung my way after the Bucks gave the ball back with about 2.5 minutes left.  My faith was shattered and then the sweet melody of Kenny G started up.  Also let's not forget the DEFENSE stepping up big when they had to at the end also!  They had some huge stops in crunch time.....almost made me forget the hate I was spewing when they let Purdue drive on them for what seemed like the entire first half.  It was a very lucky win yesterday and I couldn't be happier! O-H

zbd's picture

Kenny G played some great music Saturday.  The wide receivers actually caught the ball finally. I heard there is a sign in the Student Union asking for volunteers to play linebacker..........just kidding.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Cool Hand Kenny.......

BigRedBuckeye's picture

"The folklore of Ohio State football welcomes...Kenny Guiton!!" - Beth Mowins
Coincidentally, that is the only good piece of announcing in the history of Beth Mowins.

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

brylee's picture

I have to turn the TV down, and the radio up, when she is calling games...

BeijingBucks's picture

Interestingly she makes Galloway sound brilliant

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton