Stat Session: Kenny Guiton's True Value Goes Beyond the Box Score

By John Brandon on July 2, 2014 at 7:00p

Without Kenny Guiton, the Buckeyes will have to learn how to play offense without a safety net.

In September 2012, Braxton Miller recorded 27 carries in a tight win against Central Florida. After the game, Urban Meyer made it clear that the Buckeyes needed to take better care of Miller to prevent an injury. Miller carried the ball less often over the next few games, but he still got hurt against Purdue. Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton replaced him, saved the perfect season, and became the toast of the town.

It's no secret that having a backup quarterback like Kenny Guiton is a luxury any coach would take in a heartbeat. When your backup quarterback is named National Offensive Player of the Week or breaks the school record for touchdown passes in a game, you're in pretty good shape.

Though the lasting memory of Guiton will be saving OSU's bacon against Purdue, he impacted the perfect season beyond that one game.

  Cal-Indiana Penn State-Michigan



Between the games against Central Florida and Purdue, Miller averaged 17 carries a game. In the final four games of the year, Miller averaged 21.5. Why was he running more after an injury? By proving that he could step up in case of emergency, Guiton allowed Meyer to relax restrictions on Miller's rushing attempts.

With 4.5 more opportunities per game to break off big plays, Braxton Miller had more chances to break games open. "Explosive runs" are runs of 10 yards or longer; Miller had explosive runs in nearly 20% of his attempts, and on those runs he averaged over 20 yards per play. In 2012, those 4.5 carries roughly translated to one more explosive play per game.

  explosive runs rush ATT Exp Rush % EXP play YDS YDs/EXP Play
BRAXTON MILLER (2012) 44 227 19.4% 974 22.1

No matter how Miller performed in the final four games of the year (not as well as his first eight games), here are the important parts: the extra attempts gave him more chances for a game-changing play, and Miller did break off a 42-yarder against the Wolverines at an opportune moment. Considering that 76.6% of Miller's rushing yards on the year came via explosive plays, it served the offense well to put the ball in his hands.

To California's dismay, Guiton had a more direct impact in 2013. Here are a few quick hitters about his phenomenal senior season:

Player Adj QBR (Rank)
Braxton Miller 81.5 (13th)
Blake Bortles 78.9 (19th)
Kenny Guiton 77.7 (N/A)
Nate Sudfeld 68.3 (37th)
Devin Gardner 64.3 (50th)
Connor Cook 64.1 (52nd)
Philip Nelson 62.0 (56th)
Nate Scheelhaase 59.5 (64th)
Jake Rudock 58.4 (69th)
Trevor Siemian 55.7 (70th)
Joel Stave 55.6 (72nd)
Christian Hackenberg 53.0 (77th)
Taylor Martinez 44.0 (95th)
Danny Etling 32.7 (114th)
  • Guiton had an adjusted Total QBR (as good of a measurement of QB performance as I have found) of 77.7 in 2013. On the right is a table of every Big Ten quarterback's QBR rating in 2013 (along with non-Big Ten quarterback Blake Bortles); keep in mind that these are pre-adjusted for strength of opponent. Though Guiton lacked the sample size to be ranked, he excelled when he was on the field.
  • The Big Ten had only three top-50 passers, and with more reps for Guiton the Buckeyes would have had the two best quarterbacks in the conference.
  • Blake Bortles was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Guiton played about as well as a franchise NFL quarterback last year.
  • In 2013, Guiton was sacked only once out of 110 dropbacks (0.92%). The least sacked full-time quarterback in college football this year was Derek Carr, who was sacked on 1.64% of his dropbacks (for comparison, Braxton Miller was sacked 7.6% of the time). Sure, most of Guiton's work came against San Diego State, Cal and Florida A&M, but San Diego State was better than Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and Notre Dame in sack percentage last year, for the record. It's still impressive.
  • Guiton led the Big Ten in completion percentage among quarterbacks with at least 100 passing attempts, with a rate of 68.8%.

Without Kenny G, The backup quarterback position will likely take a step back this fall. As long as they don't have to play meaningful time because of an injury, the most they will do is Miller's rushing attempts. Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett can succeed by doing what Guiton did best – making the right play and getting the ball out quickly. It's not easy, especially without much experience, but that's what made Kenny G so special.


Comments Show All Comments

ziplock007's picture

Braxton's Big Time Opponents: Michigan, Michigan State, Clemson, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa

Guiton's Only Opponents: Last 5 minutes of a 2012 Purdue Game (6-7, 3-5 B1G), San Diego State (8-5, 6-2 MWC), Cal (1-11, 0-9 PAC 12, 0-11 vs. FBS), FAMU (terrible)

Yes Guiton was phenomenal (just ask Joe Bauserman), and no other backup in the country could've pulled off Purdue 2012

Yes Guiton was the best backup we've ever seen... but, putting perspective on the Braxton vs. Kenny comparison, they didn't have common opponents

It would've been interesting to see how Kenny would've faired vs. the B1G big boys, but, instead, he goes down in history as the best QB backup ever... and maybe, the only true backup to become a captain... now that's a legacy, and no other full time backup QB has ever had a legacy

+7 HS
InvertMyVeer's picture

I can understand not turning to Miller right away, but I will always wonder how the staff saw more in Bauserman than in Guiton

Football is complicated...

+8 HS
ohiowhitesnake's picture
This is how

I finally got a set of Gold Pants!

+8 HS
ziplock007's picture

I just checked out of morbid curiosity.  That chart has Bauserman 3/25... in actuality he was 1/10 with an Int vs. the Huskers.

What tipped me off to check you ask?  No way would I ever believe Bauserman had 3 completions.

+3 HS
BroJim's picture

Please stop saying the B word, it's too painful. 

I season my simple food with hunger

+3 HS
OsuPax's picture

That chart is amazingly funny and horribly sad.

"My idea of a good hit is when the guy wakes up on the sidelines with train whistles blowing in his head." - Jack Tatum.

+1 HS
Byaaaahhh's picture

I believe it's been said before that Guiton didn't come in with the work ethic that made him the OSU hero he is now. While Bauserman was there, Guiton just wasn't that good. Then he got better, and we saw the legend we see today.

+1 HS
Crumb's picture

I'd still have taken Guiton over Bauserman. As much as I bust Bauserman's chops he was running for his life behind a Jim Bollman coached offensive line and Guiton could've done that better. The amazing footwork of guys like Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor masked the ineptitude that was OSU's o-line before Ed Warinner. Bauserbomb not only was constantly throwing it into the stands he was probably the least mobile QB at OSU in this century.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

bucksk1n's picture

Keep in mind that when Meyer was speaking he was talking about Guiton when he took over the team.  This was three months after the coaching staff didn't give him a chance vs Bauserman then once it was obvious Bauserman couldn't do it, they decided to rely on true freshman Braxton Miller (who struggled to pick up the offense and instead had to rely on his athleticism which I've always felt hurt his development).  I think Guiton had a right to have a bit of a bad attitude after the season and credit Meyer for challenging his manhood and Kenny for meeting that challenge.

Anyone that saw Guiton vs Bauserman head to head in the previous two spring games could see one player that wilted under pressure and one that thrived in it.  It's too bad the coaches didn't challenge him and give him support earlier in his career.

Horvath22's picture

Only one comment. "The Magic Man".

DC-town's picture

Not bauserman's fault nick siciliano taught joe to check it down to the wide open hotdog vender in c play and so forth 

'Piss excellence' -RB

+8 HS
Burnsy's picture

That was golden. Well put sir or ma'am. 

+1 HS
D-Day0043's picture


I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

BigZ's picture

Makes me wonder how much this coaching staff had to do with lifting Kenny G to the heights and performances he obtained by his senior year. Also makes me very excited to think that if they can mold him into that, what will a player like Braxton look like when they are done molding him!?


BeijingBucks's picture

Having a non guaranteed backup option will likely have the mixed blessing of reducing Braxton's rushing heroics it is true... But also should force him to become a more cerebral distributor to a plethora of play makers around him.  This is it. The year to make a Heisman statement, NFL QB draft stock, 14 game gauntlet survival for all the marbles. Brax has to be savvy to the need to balance endurance with video game numbers. 

I am so not worried about winning it all right now, just want no off season news and any kind of football!

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

+2 HS
GoBucks713's picture

-The Aristocrats!

+1 HS
NitroBuck's picture

The year to make a Heisman statement, NFL QB draft stock, 14 15 game gauntlet survival for all the marbles. 

There, I fixed it for ya.

Ferio.  Tego.

Oneida54's picture

He was a nice BACK UP his Jr and Sr years! He did not cure cancer, he did not win the NC. He is given way to much credit...

-1 HS
Poison nuts's picture

No football players cure cancer right? Kenny Guiton is not given too much credit. He may not get enough credit IMO. He was a great backup & could have started most places in the CFB world. Your entitled to your opinion, but see how you feel the first time in 2014 that OSU has to go to the bull pen...which - sorry, but it'll likely happen. And when it does, that pit in your stomach...that's KG not there.

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

+2 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Every time he entered a game in 2012-13 when Braxton got banged up, he played well.  He sparked the miracle against Purdue in 2012.  He kicked ass against SDSU, Cal, and FAMU last year.  In other situations where he stepped in for a few plays for Braxton, the offense kept humming, scoring a TD in most cases.  That's all you can ask for out of a backup QB.  I never thought OSU would fare much worse if Guiton were to be the full-time starter.  Obviously, they would fare a little worse, hence Braxton being the starter, but probably not much if it all.  He certainly will be my favorite backup of all-time at least for now.  It's going to be hard for someone else to come in and be a better backup because doing so would probably make him good enough to start.

Class of 2010.

Earle's picture

I was curious to see how long it would take for someone to post these, and surprised it took so long.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

Killer nuts's picture

I came to the comments just to see these gifs, it was insulting that they weren't up yet so I had to take matters into my own hands

Earle's picture

I think we need these, too:

Snarkies gonna snark. 

+3 HS
CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

A couple of great football plays in Buckeye lore that has secured a special place for Kenny Guiton!  Kenny will be one of the most loved Buckeye football players forever!!

Go Bucks!!

+1 HS
45buckshot's picture

The numbers, due to the level of competition, are somewhat circumspect. But if Braxton has to miss time this year (speak no evil, hopefully it won't cost us more than one game), we will all see how valuable Guiton was. And it will be painful. To be fair, we could also have relied on Hyde, but he is gone too. So right now, there is no plan b. Hopefully they get Jones some live reps early before we need him (I think Barrett eventually wins the job, but I doubt he will be ready to be put in the fire this year).

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton