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Big Ten Report: Don’t believe the hype about Ohio State QB Kenny Guiton

Kenny Guitthrew six TD passes first half Saturday. | Getty Images

Kenny Guiton threw six TD passes in the first half Saturday. | Getty Images

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Updated: October 23, 2013 6:49AM



Kenny Guiton should come with some kind of disclaimer.

Warning: He might not be what he appears.

The senior quarterback has been on his honeymoon with the Buckeyes for the last three weeks. Since taking over for the injured Braxton Miller on the first drive of Ohio State’s eventual 42-7 victory over San Diego State on Sept. 7, Guiton has totaled 643 yards passing and 12 touchdowns.

But that has come against the Aztecs, California and Florida A&M. Adversity comes in small doses against those teams.

So halt the campaign to make Guiton the starter or even for the senior to share snaps with Miller.

There’s a reason Guiton didn’t begin the season as the starter and has rarely seen the field throughout his career at Ohio State. In fact, Guiton had done so little before this season that the Buckeyes had to resort to hyperbole for his bio on the team’s website:

“Kenny Guiton is a senior leader on this football team ... he leads in the classroom, weight room, film room, locker room and on the playing field.”

Glad to know Guiton is there to remind his teammates to rack the weights when they’re finished. It’s as much an indicator as the last three games in forecasting how Guiton will play when Ohio State’s conference season begins next week.

Coach Urban Meyer has to be trusted (I can’t believe I just wrote that) when it comes to evaluating his personnel. He knows his players better than anyone and has to have had reasons for starting Miller over Guiton.

Where has this level of play been in practice against an Ohio State defense much more talented than any Guiton has faced this year?

Guiton’s latest exploits against an FBS bottom-feeder included six touchdown passes in the first half of Ohio State’s 76-0 victory over Florida A&M. But most of the teams in the Big Ten have backups who probably could perform at that level against the Rattlers.

Give Guiton an incomplete on the season so far. His midterm exam will come Saturday against Wisconsin, his first chance to prove the nonconference season wasn’t deceiving.

Week 4 STARS

RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

He ran 16 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 9.2 yards per carry. The sophomore has run for at least 140 yards in all four games this season. Saturday was the first time his yards per carry dipped below double-digits.

QB Mitch Leidner, Minnesota

The freshman signal-caller carried the ball 24 times for 151 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 5 of 12 passes for only 71 yards.

DB B.J. Lowery, Iowa

The senior returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the Hawkeyes’ win over Western Michigan. The two returns totaled 48 yards.

INEPT OFFENSE

The Big Ten is a smashmouth conference rooted in defense. And in the first conference game of 2013, Wisconsin gave Purdue an object lesson.

The Boilermakers have scored more than 14 points only once, and they managed only 180 yards against Wisconsin. Facing early deficits, Purdue has been forced to pass the ball more, particularly in the second half.

But its inability to establish the run has allowed teams to drop more into coverage, making it more difficult on quarterback Rob Henry. He threw for only 135 yards Saturday and didn’t ­complete a single pass of 20 yards.

QUIET RETURN

Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde returned to the field after serving a three-game suspension for an incident at a bar, but he didn’t see much action.

Hyde, the presumed starter before the season, carried the ball five times for 41 yards. He also had a one-yard touchdown catch.

Meanwhile, freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott had a big game, running the ball 14 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Regardless, Hyde is sure to have a big role in the Buckeyes’ game plan for Wisconsin next week. Ohio State will want to use the running game to keep the ball away from a Wisconsin offense that has had the most potent rushing attack in the Big Ten.

MOVING FORWARD

After the first quarter of Nebraska’s game against South Dakota State, it appeared that the turmoil caused by Bo Pelini’s comments and QB Taylor Martinez’s absence had a serious effect on the Huskers.

Nebraska trailed its FCS opponent 17-14, but the Huskers responded well — even the defense — proving, at least in the minds of the players, that they had gotten past the hubbub surrounding their coach. Nebraska outscored South Dakota State 45-3 the rest of the way.

With Martinez out, Nebraska still managed 645 yards of offense. Running back Ameer Abdullah carried the ball 15 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, the Huskers forced three turnovers.

BY THE NUMBERS

388 — Wisconsin’s rushing yards. In all three of their victories this season, the Badgers have run for more than 300 yards.

115 — Michigan State’s penalty yards against Notre Dame. The Spartans committed 10 penalties.

3 — Third-down conversions allowed by Penn State. That is largely credited to its run defense, which ­allowed 56 yards and made third-down conversions less manageable.

THEY SAID IT

“It’s a new year. Our big thing is just laying one brick at a time, and every game is a new brick, every practice is a new brick. We’re just trying to build that foundation that Coach [Jerry] Kill is trying to build here.’’ —Aaron Hill, Minnesota linebacker



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