A lot of times, when a team loses their starting quarterback, panic sets in. The game plan has to be altered, and a lot of times teams start playing not to lose. Things can start to unravel, teams begin to panic, and before you know it, the game is out of hand.
One of the things Ohio State enjoys over most other teams is a depth advantage at most positions. If one guy goes down, another guy steps in, and life goes on. When Braxton Miller went down very early on Saturday, Kenny Guiton stepped in like he was in the middle of practice for ballroom dancing or something and just blitzed San Diego State. Ballroom. Blitz. Take it away, Sweet...
Ohhhhhhh, yeah, it was like lightning, everybody was frightening
And the music was soothing, 'cause they all started grooving
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
And the man at the back said everyone attack
And it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said boy, I wanna warn ya
It'll turn into a ballroom blitz
Your Stock Market Report that stays classy, San Diego follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Kenny Guiton, Smooth Criminal: A luxury like Guiton is a rarity in this day and age. He can come in, at any point in the game, and the offense doesn't skip a beat. There is no limiting of the playbook, and conceptually, Guiton probably understands it better than Miller right now. He read the read option well all day, other than one throw made good decisions with the football all day, and was on target with almost all of his throws. By the end of the game, he was the team's leading rusher and had accounted for three touchdowns.
Philly Brown, WR: Brown had the both receiving touchdowns in the game, and both were very nice catches. Overall, Brown had six catches for 73 yards, and looked to be the most sure handed receiver out there. The receiving corps has made tremendous strides since this time last year, and Brown has become a sure handed, reliable target, regardless of field position.
Michael Bennett, DT: The knock on Bennett is his level of effort from one play to the next. He brought the heat on Saturday, and was a disruptive force in the middle. He hit the sack/strip/fumble recovery trifecta, and also has a big tackle for loss. If Bennett decides he wants to be the next Jonathan Hankins, life just became a whole lot tougher for Big Ten offensive lines.
Dontre Wilson, WR/RB: Last week, Wilson had a critical fumble that helped Buffalo crawl back into the game. Saturday, he was sure handed and scored the first of what will likely be many touchdowns. He had 51 yards rushing on only five carries, and still showed that 'wow' explosiveness that makes him seem so special. Ohio State seems to be involving Wilson a little bit more each week (eight touches Saturday versus four last week), and as he progresses, the Buckeye defense can only become more potent.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB: EzE looked like the real deal running the ball Saturday. Yeah, it was the second half, and yeah, the game was pretty much out of reach, but he showed some burst and ran with authority. Other than Philly Brown's second TD pass, I'd argue Elliott's running was the highlight of a mostly boring second half. He had six carries for 36 yards, and would've had over 40 had his first carry not been nullified by a penalty.
Marcus Hall, G: It's like JB Shugarts and Mike Adams never left, wasn't it? One of the most frustrating things about OSU's offense in the previous regime was the great talent along the offensive line that never seemed to develop, and was hamstrung with false start penalties. Ed Warinner cleaned up a lot of that stuff last year, and OSU's line play has improved substantially in the last year. Hall gave OSU fans some Jim Bollman PTSD with three false start penalties on Saturday. Fortunately, they didn't come close to costing OSU the game, but it was still something that was unsettling.
Brionte Dunn, RB: Let's go back to November of 2011. Urban Meyer has just been hired, and is in the middle of his first recruiting battle with Brady Hoke. The target? 5 star RB Dunn, who is committed to the Buckeyes but is on the verge of flipping to Michigan. After a full court press, Dunn stays home, and Buckeye nation rejoices. Fast forward to today. With Carlos Hyde out and Rod Smith suspended, people just assumed Dunn would see the field quite a bit early on. Yet, he's been invisible, buried underneath Hall, Wilson, Elliott, and Smith. Dunn's fall from grace has been steep, and fast.
Buy: Kenny Guiton being able to start for a lot of FBS programs. Guiton has been cash money for Ohio State, and I think it's fair to say that he could start for a lot of programs in the country. Heck, let's just look at the Big Ten. Minnesota, Michigan State, Purdue, Penn State, and Wisconsin would probably take him in a second. He exudes confidence, the offense actually seems to run smoother with Guiton than Miller, and he can read the run option as good as any quarterback running that system.
Sell: Guiton starting over Miller. For all the confidence Guiton has, and for all the command he has in the offense over Miller (and that's admittedly an 'eye test' thing for me), Miller is still the straw that stirs the drink for the Buckeyes. Miller has a natural athleticism that just can't be taught, and for all of Guiton's qualities, there's no way that Guiton would ever get the starting job over Miller, unless by injury.
Buy: OSU's goal line stand to end the half. For the second week in a row, the Buckeyes defense came up big when it had to, holding an opponent out of the end zone.
Sell: Giving up a far too easy touchdown early in the third quarter. Again, this is kind of nitpicky, but on SDSU's lone scoring drive, they had four straight plays of 14 yards or more, and the sixth play was for a touchdown. Sure, it was 42-0 at that point and focus was probably something that wasn't at the forefront of everyone's mind, but man, that was way too easy.
Two weeks, 2-0, and and over 400 yards of offense two weeks in a row. There's still a lot of things OSU can do to get better, but the improvement from last week to this week was noticeable. There was a little drop off on the offense in the second half, but the defense didn't give up any big plays, and only one scoring drive. There's a good mix of youth and experience, and this team is going to be fun to watch as the season unfolds.