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Now that Kenny Guiton the Genie is out, how do you put him back in the bottle? Or do you? That’s a good football conundrum.
In the polls
Ohio State remained third in the USA Today coaches poll (behind Alabama and Oregon) and No. 4 in the Associated Press media poll (behind Alabama, Oregon and Clemson).
In his first collegiate start, Guiton, a fifth-year senior, ran the offense with aplomb, and was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation national offensive player of the week yesterday. He passed for 276 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for 92 yards against one of the poorer defenses in the nation. He set the tone with two early touchdown rainbows to Devin Smith, including a 90-yarder, the longest play from scrimmage in Ohio State history. And it was his direction on three straight TD drives to start the second half that put the game away as OSU rolled to more than 600 yards of offense.
What’s not hot?
For a game, at least, it was the pass defense. But Cal and freshman quarterback Jared Goff having success was expected even by Urban Meyer and his assistants. That kind of spread-it-and-wing-it approach is going to find some creases. It was just the rapidity of a couple of Cal TD drives, and the poor tackling during them, that was cause for consternation. That, and the couple of penalties that helped the Bears’ cause.
What went right?
The balanced offensive approach. While Guiton was having a career day, so was running back Jordan Hall, his 168 yards rushing topping his previous single-game personal best of 159 set in the season opener against Buffalo. It also is clear that offensive coordinator Tom Herman and his staff want to keep adding touches for speedy freshman Dontre Wilson, who is still just that one move away from popping a big one.
Back to the drawing board
The offense in the fourth quarter. It’s picky to point this out after consecutive and increasing point totals of 40, 42 and 52, but the Buckeyes still haven’t scored a touchdown in the final quarter. Of course, some might call that piling on, but it doesn’t seem to affect Oregon’s reputation. Keeping the foot on the gas is necessary to take this OSU team where it wants to go.
Maybe quarterback Braxton Miller will return this week after a game off to rest his sprained left knee, but who knows? Meyer was fairly optimistic early last week that the junior would be able to play at Cal, but all Miller did was throw a few passes before pregame warm-ups began. Sophomore defensive end Adolphus Washington (groin strain) did not make the trip, and his will be a week-to-week evaluation.
The way Buckeye Nation invaded Cal’s Memorial Stadium. Conservative estimates were more than 40 percent of the 62,467 were OSU fans, an impressive showing both in terms of loyalty and outlay, considering a great portion of those fans were scattered in scarlet pockets throughout the “Cal” section. As for the south end zone portion, it was OSU through and through.
Florida A&M (1-2) is an FCS school better known for its band which, despite being back after a one-year hiatus because of a hazing death, won’t make the trip. The Rattlers opened with a win over Mississippi Valley State, then dropped their next two games to Tennessee State and Samford. Enough said.
This week’s challenge
For Meyer and staff, it might be deciding whether it would be wise to sit Miller for another game, giving the medial collateral ligament sprain more time to heal. Otherwise, considering the opponent, the Buckeyes must find a way to win big and save face, while getting a lot of players into the game for experience. It’s best never to take anyone lightly, but that will be difficult for the Buckeyes this week.