With Braxton Miller’s health in question, Urban Meyer said Ohio State is going to have two quarterbacks ready for its Saturday contest against Penn State.
Most college football fans have heard of Miller, an agile sophomore who left last week’s game with an apparent head injury. But it wasn’t until recently that a lot of people got a look at his backup, Kenny Guiton.
A junior from Houston, Texas, Guiton had just 12 passing attempts in his college career entering last Saturday’s game, but he showed poise in a come-from-behind, overtime victory against Purdue.
Ohio State is now facing its biggest game of the season this weekend with control of the Leaders Division on the line against Penn State. Miller is still listed as the starting quarterback on the Buckeyes’ depth chart, but Guiton said he’ll be ready if his number is called.
“[Coach Meyer told me] take this week as I was the starter, which is something you’re supposed to do every week,” Guiton said. “So I was told to take things like I was the starter in case Braxton couldn’t go. I’m preparing hard and making sure I’m always getting a rep.”
Miller was forced out of Ohio State’s contest on Saturday after his head slammed off the ground when he was tackled in the third quarter. The Heisman Trophy candidate was on the practice field Tuesday, and Guiton said he looked good.
“He looked like himself,” Guiton said. “He had a pretty good day, and I think he’s a real good player, and he showed it.”
The injury to Miller initially looked bad as he was carted off the field and transferred to a hospital. He was released on Saturday evening, and earlier in the week, Meyer said Miller had a sore neck, but the signal caller had passed concussion tests.
While Miller was being treated last week, Guiton was keeping the Buckeyes’ record perfect. Trailing by eight with 47 seconds left, Guiton marched the offense 61 yards to tie the game.
Guiton opened the drive with a 39-yard completion and ended it with a two-yard touchdown pass, as well as a completion on the ensuing two-point conversion.
“We just tried to keep our heads up. We were going to need a big play, and we were going to get it,” Guiton said. “I know we had a big play the first play of the drive, and after that we were just rolling and eventually got it in the endzone.”
Guiton, who stands at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, is more of a pocket passer than Miller, and the junior has a total of 128 passing yards on 12-of-21 attempts this season. Meanwhile, using both his arm and legs, Miller has accounted for 2,343 total yards and 21 touchdowns this season.
Meyer noted there are differences between the two quarterbacks and said his team will be prepared to operate with whoever is taking snaps.
“They’re both good athletes, so we’ll still have the elements of if you run an option and things that Braxton does so well,” Meyer said. “And Kenny is a great manager, a great distributor. He does a really good job. It’s like a coach on the field, he gets you the right plays very easily. We’re going to have both ready, and it’s not that much different.”