No Braxton Miller? No problem.
We're continuing to look back at some strange recent times for Ohio State football. We dug into the 2011 Illinois game that had a happy ending on the scoreboard but was a tough one to sit through. In 2005, the Buckeyes played host to Vince Young in a classic matchup that ended in heartbreak.
On Sept. 14 of 2013, Urban Meyer and the fourth-ranked Buckeyes traveled 2,400 miles to take on a California Golden Bears team that had already tasted defeat on the young season. Two weeks prior, Pat Fizgerald's Wildcats left town with a 44-30 win over first-year head coach Sonny Dykes.
I've always wanted to attend a game out West, and this one probably ranks up there with the 2019 Rose Bowl (and the upcoming trip to Eugene) as venues I'd like to check out. The atmosphere and overall scenery are just so much different than what we typically see on Saturdays in the fall.
Unfortunately, the 2013 version of the Ohio State defense was also quite different from what we're used to seeing, and true freshman quarterback Jared Goff gave them all they could handle at Memorial Stadium.
Luke Fickell and Everett Withers were running the Ohio State defense that year, and its efforts against the pass were especially troubling. The defense as a whole ranked No. 47 nationally, but the Buckeyes' pass defense came in at No. 112. It doesn't get much worse than that, and Withers didn't even make it through the calendar year before accepting a position at James Madison.
In the third game of the season, Goff completed 31 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns. Big plays would prove to be problematic for the entirety of the season, and the Cal freshman connected on 61- and 42-yard scoring strikes in the first quarter alone. Bradley Roby, C.J. Barnett, Christian Bryant, Corey Brown and Doran Grant were among those suiting up in the Ohio State secondary that year.
Offensively, it was a different story for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. Braxton Miller exited during week two's game against San Diego State, and Kenny Guiton got the nod against the Golden Bears. In his first career start, the senior put together one of the finer showings we've seen from an Ohio State quarterback.
It would be a vast understatement to say the Buckeye offense got off to a hot start.
Guiton started things off with a 90-yard touchdown to Devin Smith and would end up tossing three of his four scores in the game's first six minutes. At the end of the day, Guiton accounted for 368 yards of offense and four touchdowns. Smith caught three passes for 149 yards and a pair of scores while Jordan Hall ran for 168 and found the end zone three times.
Ohio State's defense would go on to give up 30+ points in six different games that season, which culminated with a 40-35 Orange Bowl defeat against Sammy Watkins and the Clemson Tigers. The secondary was especially troubling and many were left wondering why a player like Vonn Bell – though a true freshman at the time – didn't see more action over some struggling upperclassmen. Watkins only managed 16 receptions for 227 yards and two scores in the bowl matchup.
Chris Ash arrived following the 2013 season, helped to turn around the Buckeyes' defense, and was a key part of the 2014 national championship run. Kenny Guiton had already flashed a bit when he led the Buckeyes to a comeback win over Purdue in 2012. But he really showed his full arsenal in the shootout at Berekely.
Following the Cal game, Guiton put on another show against Florida A&M in a game the Buckeyes won by a score of 76-0. Braxton Miller than returned from his knee injury and Guiton saw limited action for the rest of the 2013 season.
After participating in the Buffalo Bills rookie minicamp, Guiton went on to pursue a career in coaching. He served as a graduate assistant under Tom Herman at Houston and then followed Herman to Texas where he put in work as a quality control assistant with the wide receivers. He's now the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator at Colorado State.
May the sounds of smooth jazz once again return to Columbus?