BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge
BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge
COLUMBUS — It was a win for the ages.
Just don’t expect Ohio State to gloat.
In a game that offered as much resistance as a light summer breeze, the fourth-ranked Buckeyes and backup quarterback Kenny Guiton darted into history in a 76-0 whitewashing of Florida A&M.
An Ohio Stadium crowd of 103,595 watched OSU strut to its most lopsided win since 1935, and in truth, the Rattlers were fortunate it was not worse.
Even with quarterback Braxton Miller resting his injured left knee for the second straight week, this was a varsity against the freshmen mismatch from wire to wire. Guiton threw a school-record six touchdown passes — all in the first half — and OSU (4-0) floored it to a 55-0 halftime lead before emptying the bench.
Three of the Buckeyes’ first five touchdown drives covered one play and a combined 14 seconds. A two-play, 25-yard touchdown drive that shoved them ahead by three touchdowns with 9:25 left in the first quarter qualified as methodical.
In all, OSU stockpiled a season-high 603 yards and held the visitors to two first downs. Its 76 points marked the most since an 83-21 win against Iowa in 1950, while the margin of victory was the largest since an 85-7 dusting of Drake in 1935.
"What do we get out of it?" coach Urban Meyer said. "We got to play in one of the biggest stadiums in football, with 103,000 here to watch us. They have a right to see our kids play hard, and they did."
How much can be gleaned from Saturday is hazy. This was a classic guarantee game, the Buckeyes a school-record 57-point favorite. The Rattlers (1-3) of the second-tier Football Championship Series would gladly accept a $900,000 check in exchange for the drubbing of their season. FAMU coach Earl Holmes, a former linebacker for the Browns and Lions, knew the deal.
"We don’t want a pity party," Holmes said. "Those guys are working on things. I don't expect the coach to kneel. You play the game. You play for 60 minutes."
The Buckeyes, too, were ready to put the game out of mind. After four weeks of walking over cake, they promptly turned their focus to next week’s Big Ten opener against Wisconsin.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman called the primetime home game a reason "why you come here."
"Competing for a Big Ten championship, that starts [today]," Meyer said. "Actually, it started in a meeting just a minute ago. We’ve got to get the Buckeyes ready to go."
Has the nonconference schedule prepared them?
"That’s a great question," Meyer said. "Obviously at midnight next week, we will know. I love my team, I like our coaches, the seriousness that our guys are approaching everything with, and I like that we’re relatively healthy.
"Are we prepared? I’d like to think we are."
Guiton certainly is.
The big question last week again centered on the health of Miller, who went down with a sprained medial collateral ligament in the Buckeyes’ Week 2 win over San Diego State. Miller sat last week at California and was expected to return in a limited role Saturday. But his knee ultimately remained too unstable to set free his full dual-threat potential.
"I wanted to play him," Meyer said. "Braxton felt like he couldn’t go, and we were checking. He tried really hard, had a good week of pushing himself through it. But with good athletes, those are tough injuries."
Miller, who looked strong throwing in a jacket and shorts during warmups, will almost certainly be ready against Wisconsin. Yet for another week, the OSU offense was placed in trusted hands.
Guiton, the reigning national player of the week, was just as sharp in his second career start as he was in his first. The fifth-year senior led the Buckeyes into the end zone on eight of their nine first-half drives.
The other possession was their first, though it still foreshadowed the day. FAMU’s Patrick Aiken intercepted Guiton in the back of the end zone, inexplicably tried to run it back, and lost a fumble at the Rattlers’ 3-yard line. Jordan Hall punched in a three-yard touchdown on the next play.
Guiton threw touchdowns to five different receivers — Evan Spencer twice, Jeff Heuerman, Carlos Hyde, Chris Fields, and Devin Smith — to set the school’s single-game record previously held by John Borton (five touchdowns in 1952) and Bobby Hoying. In virtually one half of work, he completed 24 of 34 passes for 215 yards and ended his afternoon the national leader with 13 touchdown passes this season.
"It's a blessing, it's a blessing," Guiton said. "Thank God, thank the offensive line. I had all day. The coaches wanted to come out throwing the ball around, and I thank them for the trust in me to be able to do that."
With his usual wide smile, he added, "I never thought something like this could come about."