Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Sports

Backup QB rallies Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The darkest moment for Ohio State became the highlight of Kenny Guiton's career.

With star quarterback Braxton Miller on the way to the hospital, Guiton passed for a touchdown and two-point conversion with three seconds left and the No. 7 Buckeyes went on to beat Purdue 29-22 in overtime Saturday.

"I'm still trying to figure that bad boy out," said Urban Meyer, whose team remained unbeaten in his first season as Buckeyes coach. "We won, right?"

Many among the crowd of 105,290 believed the Buckeyes had little chance of winning after Miller left on the next-to-last play of the third. The mood had sunk lower when Guiton, who threw an interception on his previous play, came onto the field with 47 seconds left, Ohio State down 22-14 and the ball at its 39.

"The people around me calmed me down and got me ready to go out there and have fun," the senior said.

He did more than have fun.

"Some of the efforts I saw were legendary," Meyer said. "I mean, that was a moment that I'll certainly never forget: The quarterback jogging into the game, the old right-hander. He just did a heck of a job."

After Guiton's interception to safety Landon Feichter with 2:40 left, Meyer grabbed Guiton.

"I said, 'You're going to win us a game,' " Meyer said. "He looked right at me. I think he was down, but I think that moment kind of picked him up."

Guiton appreciated the faith. When he ran onto the field for the final drive of regulation, he passed that confidence onto his teammates.

"(Coach Meyer) told me I was going to be okay," Guiton said. "I told the offense, 'We need to make plays, and we're going to get it. So let's go. Let's keep our heads up and let's start winning this game.' "

On first down, Guiton hit an open Devin Smith for 39 yards. With eight seconds left, the ball sat at the Boilermakers 2. Guiton rolled to his left and fired a low pass to another seldom-used player, Chris Fields.

Guiton then lofted a soft toss over a linebacker to freshman tight end Jeff Heuerman to tie it.

"I wanted the world for the team," Guiton said.

Ohio State got the ball first in overtime, and Carlos Hyde scored on a 1-yard run. When it was Purdue's turn, Caleb TerBush misfired on four passes.

Purdue scored on TerBush's touchdown passes of 83 yards to Akeem Shavers — on the first offensive play of the game — and 31 yards to Gary Bush in the third quarter, and Akeem Hunt's 100-yard kickoff return. It took a 22-14 lead 4:49 into the fourth when Ohio State was called for an illegal block in the end zone, resulting in a safety.

"Before the game, we talked about playing 60 minutes," Feichter said. "Unfortunately, we played 59 minutes and 30 seconds."

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