While the city of Columbus held its collective breath Saturday when Miller went down with the knee injury, senior backup quarterback Kenny Guiton took a deep breath and entered the game.
Three hours later, Guiton tallied 152 yards on 19-of-28 passing with two scores and a pick. Guiton added 83 yards rushing — including a career-long 44-yard touchdown run — on nine carries.
“When Kenny goes into the game, there’s an extreme amount of confidence by the coaching staff and the players in his ability to execute the plan,” co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said.
And the staff has the confidence in the backup signal-caller — who is also a team captain — not to waiver from the same game-planning drawn up for Miller.
“The key was just to stick with the game plan, stick with what he’s practiced, and know that we need to make adjustments as we progress,” Warinner said. “He’s a smart player, he understands and can make adjustments, but really, we didn’t plan on changing anything.
“Kenny had that (touchdown) run. That was a play that obviously had been designed for Braxton and we still called it with Kenny and he broke it and scored.”
Guiton converted on two 2-point conversions against Buffalo and connected with Chris Fields for a 21-yard touchdown on his only pass attempt against Buffalo.
SDSU ran an astronomical 99 plays for 400 yards (318 passing, 122 rushing) against Eastern Illinois and still lost in the season-opener thanks to five turnovers, but the Buckeyes clamped down on the Aztecs, limiting them to 68 plays for 280 yards.
Though talented, inexperience on the defensive line was a concern entering the season, but defensive line coach Mike Vrabel’s unit has passed its first two tests.
“Our defensive line is playing at a very high level right now,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to jinx them because they are not perfect at all. (As a) matter of fact they are very poor in some things they do. But as far as effort, energy, and enthusiasm that whole unit is playing with, I have to give credit to Mike Vrabel. They play like Mike coaches and I imagine the way Mike played here.”
SS C.J. Barnett led the defensive onslaught against SDSU with 7 tackles (5 solo, 2 assists), LB Curtis Grant tallied 6 (3/3), LB Joshua Perry collected 6 (2/4), and LBs Ryan Shazier and Armani Reeves each had 5, respectively.
DL Steve Miller and CB Armani Reeves each had a sack.