Ohio State Buckeyes: No Braxton Miller, No Problem

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Senior quarterback Kenny Guiton not only led the Ohio State Buckeyes to a victory in place of the injured Braxton Miller tonight, but eased the worries of Buckeyes fans about what would happen to this team down the stretch if Miller were to get more seriously injured. His play on the field sent a message back to the Ohio State faithful in Columbus, “relax, I got this.”

Guiton finished 21 of 32 for 276 yards and four touchdown passes and added 14 carries for 92 yards as Ohio State rolled to a 52-34 victory, the Buckeyes’ 15th straight, in Berkeley, CA. Guiton didn’t put up those points all by himself, however.

Senior running back Jordan Hall added 168 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns and junior wide receiver Devin Smith led the Buckeyes with 149 receiving yards and two touchdowns as the Buckeye offense seemingly didn’t miss Miller at all against the California Golden Bears defense.

The Buckeye defense facing the frantic paced pass happy offense of California allowed those 34 points on 371 yards through the air. However, it did get two turnovers and pitched into a seven-minute time of possession advantage. With this road win over a Pac-12 team, the Buckeyes made a few statements.

The first is that they are without a doubt the class of the Big 10. No other team in the Big 10 could have held its starting quarterback out of this game and still managed to score 52 points.

The second is that they have a backup quarterback that would probably start for most Big 10 teams. How many other quarterbacks in the Big 10 could go into a Pac-12 team’s stadium and put up the numbers that Guiton did?

The third is that they are a team that is capable of beating a team at its own game. California’s style is to wear out a defense with high volume of plays and lots of motion simply outscoring the opponent. Ohio State outgained and outscored the Bears.

The poor statistical performance of the Buckeye defense won’t matter much when the voters cast their ballots tomorrow. All they’ll see is that Ohio State went out to the west coast and hung 52 up on a Pac-12 team in its own yard with the backup quarterback.

Teams that prove they are the class of their conferences have depth and are versatile enough to defeat any opponent are the teams that get shots at playing for championships. If the Buckeyes continue to get quality play up and down their roster from players like Guiton, they might get that chance this January.

Derek Helling is a Big 10 football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DRokSH, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.
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