One week ago, Kenny Guiton set the school record for the longest play from scrimmage with a 90-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith. On Saturday, Guiton broke another Ohio State record. This time it was the single-game touchdown pass mark.
It now doubles as the single-half record, too, after Guiton tossed six touchdowns in the first half of the Buckeyes’ 76-0 win over Florida A&M. Head coach Urban Meyer is one of the biggest believers in Guiton, but even he isn’t giving any credibility to the murmurs about a quarterback controversy.
“Our backup quarterback has earned some time,” Meyer said. “I can’t begin to tell you in what capacity. I’ve been going through some scenarios in my mind, and I don’t know what it is. I’m going to see how we practice this week, but Braxton is our starting quarterback.”
So without playing in virtually three games, Miller will still be the No. 1 guy when Ohio State plays Wisconsin in primetime next Saturday. But if Meyer had it his way, Miller would have taken some snaps against the Rattlers.
“I wanted to play him,” Meyer said. “Braxton felt like he couldn’t go. He tried really hard, had a good week of pushing himself through it. But with good athletes, those are tough injuries.”
On the third straight Saturday where Guiton turned heads, and the second consecutive that included a school record, Miller was still at the forefront of the conversation.
The biggest play of the game for FAMU came early. On Ohio State’s first possession, Guiton threw an interception in the end zone. But the Rattlers got greedy. Patrick Aiken tried to bring the ball out and fumbled. The Buckeyes recovered and the game was never close again.
“I got caught up in the moment and I made the mental error,” Aiken said. “I should have just kneed the ball in the end zone. It was just a mental error. It took the momentum away from us.”
Said FAMU head coach Earl Holmes: “You cannot afford to give a team as good as Ohio State any extra opportunities and at times we did that. The first drive of the game we thought we had the momentum behind us after the interception, but we lost it and never got it back.”
Guiton’s six touchdown passes were the story of the game. He threw for 215 yards and spread the ball around to 10 different receivers.
“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.”
Evan Spencer caught two touchdown passes, including the record-setting sixth. He had his biggest game of the season. Along with the wide receivers, a handful of running backs got involved too.
“The sky’s the limit for our offense,” Spencer said. “We have so many weapons and we can do so many different things. I can’t even imagine all the different things that we can do.”
The Buckeyes threw a decent amount of passes in the second quarter up big. Holmes saw no ill intentions, though.
“We don’t want a pity party,” he said. “I don’t expect the other coach to kneel on the ball. You play the game for 60 minutes. I don’t have a problem with them at all.”
The Silver Bullets pitched their first shutout since the Akron game in 2011. There was little offense to go around for FAMU. Ohio State didn’t allow a first down until late in the first half and held the Rattlers well under the 100-yard mark.
“As a defense, we shut them out and that was our goal,” said cornerback Bradley Roby. “It’s always a good feeling leaving the game with a goose egg.”
Ohio State’s offense had a day that was near the top of its all-time history. Still, tight end Jeff Heuerman was able to find areas that weren’t as sound as one might think.
“I wouldn’t say we’re unsatisfied. There’s always room for improvement,” he said. “We’re not perfect. It’s a long season and we have to play a lot of different teams. There are a lot of things we have to prepare and each team is different. We didn’t have our whole offense ready to go today.”
Walk-on wide receiver Kato Mitchell didn’t mince words when describing the first catch of his career.
“It was one of the best moments of my life, for real,” he said.
The Florida A&M game wasn’t rehashed much in the locker room. When the team got back, Meyer made his point very quickly. The non-conference schedule is over, and the game that had just taken place was already in the past.
“Coach was like, ‘This game’s over. We’re on to Wisconsin,’” said running back Jordan Hall.
“I love my team,” Meyer said. “I like our coaches and the seriousness that our guys are approaching everything with, and I like the fact 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.”
“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 Wisconsin. They beat us a couple years ago when we were No. 1. We’re ready for them.”
A handful of Buckeyes that were expected to play this season still have not received playing time – Bri’onte Dunn, Jalin Marshall, Mike Mitchell, Eli Apple, Gareon Conley and Chris Worley being the main guys. Meyer’s message was this:
“They’re ready to go, but they won’t be used in mop-up time. We don’t really redshirt, but there are some guys that could be fine players down the road that I just didn’t want to burn a year to get them five or 10 plays.”