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Buckeyes Buckeye Archive Guiton to the Rescue, OSU Wins in OT
Written by Dan Wismar

Dan Wismar

Guiton Purdue5Urban Meyer isn’t going to win every game he coaches at OSU, but Saturday in Columbus the Buckeyes somehow delayed the inevitable for another week. Ohio State rallied behind their backup quarterback with eight points in the final seconds to tie Purdue, and went on to beat the Boilermakers in overtime 29-22, to stay unbeaten at 8-0. Braxton Miller was knocked out of the game after three quarters, and the Buckeyes trailed most of the day, but Kenny Guiton came on and managed to snatch improbable victory from what looked like certain defeat.

The junior from Houston connected with Chris Fields for a touchdown with three seconds on the clock, and then found tight end Jeff Heuerman for the 2-point conversion to send the game into overtime. Miller was slammed hard to the turf after a 35-yard run late in the 3rd quarter, and was hospitalized as doctors checked him for head, neck and shoulder injuries, but he was released Saturday evening, and was said by an OSU spokesman to be “symptom free”.

Faint Hope

Fields Purdue1When Guiton threw a tipped-ball interception with 2:40 remaining and the Buckeyes down eight points, a lot of the 105,290 in attendance headed for the exits. And who could blame them? It looked like Urban Meyer’s unbeaten streak at OSU was over. Ohio State had put on one of their most lackluster performances of the season. Their star quarterback was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital, and the first three 4th quarter possessions led by Guiton to that point had resulted in a missed field goal, a safety, and then the interception.

But Meyer grabbed Guiton and looked him in the eye as he came off the field and said “we’re coming right back, and you’re going to get this team a win”. A miracle victory looked no more likely two minutes later though, when Guiton and the Buckeyes got one last chance, starting at their own 39-yard line with just 47 ticks left on the clock.

A completion for 39 yards to Devin Smith on the first play of the drive kept hope alive for the Buckeyes at the Purdue 22. Another completion and a Carlos Hyde run netted another first down, and then a pass interference call on a throw to Evan Spencer in the end zone set the table for Guiton’s 2-yard TD pass to Fields.

The Two-Pointer

Heuerman Purdue1After Fields’ diving TD catch was upheld on review, Guiton calmly took the snap and rolled right on the 2-point conversion attempt, and threw back left to Heuerman, who had lined up right and drifted all the way across the formation, and was open behind the defense.

That play call was one that had been talked about by Heuerman and offensive coordinator Tom Herman as the final drive was beginning, and it turns out that Herman had to lobby hard for his favored play on the conversion attempt. That’s because Meyer’s offensive linemen and his running back Carlos Hyde were intent (“screaming”, said Meyer later) on a power run play with Hyde. Herman told the assembled media after the game that Heuerman may have waited too long to get off his block and ended up almost getting caught behind tackle Reid Fragel...but all’s well that ends well. “Great execution” was the way Meyer referred to the play afterwards.


Last year, Ohio State missed an extra point against Purdue that would have won the game, and wound up losing in overtime in West Lafayette. This time around the tables were turned on the Boilermakers, as a blocked extra point on their first touchdown allowed the Buckeyes to tie the game in the final seconds, and then win it in OT.

The overtime seemed almost anti-climactic after the drama of the game-tying drive. Emotion had swung in Ohio State’s direction after being almost entirely absent for the first 60 minutes. The Buckeyes got the ball first, and the big play was a 17-yard completion from Guiton to Jake Stoneburner that took OSU from the 25, down to a first and goal at the 8-yard line. On 3rd down, Hyde plowed in for the score from the one, and then it was up to the defense to come up big.

Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush (19 of 30, 2 TD, 1 INT) was hurried into two incompletions before hitting a five yard gain on third down. Then facing 4th and 5 from the 20, with the game on the line, he was flushed from the pocket and tried to go for all of it, but overthrew his receiver in the end zone to send the OSU crowd home happy.

A Miserable First Half

Meyer Purdue1Lousy first quarters have been common enough for these unbeaten Buckeyes this year for their fans to almost expect them, but on this afternoon, the equally common 2nd quarter turnaround didn’t happen. Purdue started fast with an 83-yard touchdown pass on the very first offensive play of the game as TerBush hit his running back Akeem Shavers on a wheel route, badly torching OSU linebacker Storm Klein on the play. The much maligned OSU defense would recover nicely after that, and play pretty well the rest of the half, but the Buckeyes’ special teams and offense wouldn’t cooperate.

It took three possessions for OSU to score, in part because officials gave Purdue credit for recovering a Miller fumble that Miller had clearly recovered himself. Braxton eventually put the Buckeyes up 7-6 on an 8-yard run late in the quarter, but the lead was short-lived, because Akeem Hunt returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, giving the Boilermakers the lead once again, 13-7.

The offensive totals for OSU in the second quarter were ugly on stilts. Owing to a 19-play drive by Purdue, which took 10:32 off the clock, the Buckeyes didn’t have the ball much in the quarter, but they ran nine plays and netted zero yards for the period.  Only a tipped ball interception in the end zone by OSU safety C.J. Barnett kept the Boilers off the scoreboard after their long drive, and the Bucks were able to stay close, down just six at the half.

One note on the officiating: It was awful. Not only did the ineligible Buckeyes draw the 4th string ABC announcing team, but they apparently drew the 6th string Big Ten officials as well. They whiffed completely on the aforementioned fumble, made a baffling call that cost OSU a safety, and appeared to overlook offensive holding all day...on both sides. Purdue coach Danny Hope griped after the game about the OSU pass protection on the final drive, but it took some real nerve for him to whine about a crew that had seemed determined to help the Boilermakers most of the afternoon.

Miller Gets Untracked, then Cracked

Braxton Purdue1Miller finally got things going in the 3rd quarter, driving the Buckeyes for the go-ahead TD on their second possession, but once again the Boilermakers would have a swift answer. Purdue went right to the quick outs and bubble screen game, and repeatedly burned the Buckeye defenders in space. A 31-yard TD to Gary Bush put Purdue back in the lead, where they would stay until the last three seconds of regulation.

A second lost fumble by Miller (this one legitimate) gave Purdue the ball in OSU territory, but their field goal attempt was blocked, and it looked as if Braxton would just start being Braxton, and bail out the listless Buckeyes once again. He bolted through the line on the first play after the blocked field goal and dashed 35 yard into Purdue territory where he was thrown violently to the turf by the back of his jersey. In obvious pain, he was helped to the sidelines where, a few minutes later, he was barely able to walk to the cart to be taken to the locker room.

The six point Purdue lead became eight when Heuerman was called for a very dubious block in the back penalty in the end zone as Guiton dropped to throw, resulting in a safety and another lost possession for the Bucks. That eight point margin was looking awfully large as Guiton and his mates struggled through the 4th quarter without their leader and best player.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes’ undefeated streak, Guiton kept his cool, even after two badly underthrown passes and an interception. His coach kept his spirits up, and the kid Meyer called “the ol’ righthander” came in out of the bullpen with 0:47 on the clock, and made enough plays to win.

More importantly, the news from the hospital after the game was better than anyone had dared hope. Miller was “just fine” after doctors put him through a battery of tests, and he is not expected to suffer any long term effects of the injury. And the beat goes on. 8-0.


OSU Official Box Score and Stats


Correction: I had the upcoming OSU schedule mixed up the other day in the Purdue game preview. I said they would face Illinois and then Penn State when it's the other way around. They'll travel to PSU this coming Saturday, and then host Illinois in two weeks.


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(photo credits: Jim Davidson -



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