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September 21, 2013

Record setting shutout

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Many football experts said that Saturday's game between Ohio State and Florida A&M would be a "pick the score" game for the Buckeyes and apparently 76-0 seemed like a good number for Urban Meyer as the Buckeyes (4-0) scored at will against the Rattlers (1-3) and quarterback Kenny Guiton set a passing record with six touchdowns as he got his second career start over injured Braxton Miller.

Guiton threw for six touchdowns in the first half and ended the day 24-31 for 215 yards and an interception before yielding to Cardale Jones who saw his first game action of the season. It was the first game of the year for Carlos Hyde as well who scored on a one-yard touchdown pass from Guiton and ended the game with 41 yards on five carries.

The Buckeyes had three one-play drives in the first half (three-yard TD run by Jordan Hall, 11-yard TD reception by Jeff Heuerman and five-yard TD reception by Chris Fields) and one two play drive (eight-yard TD reception by Evan Spencer).

"(Kenny Guiton is) an efficient player right now," Meyer said after the game. "He's an incredible manager, coach on the field so, you know his time came. He was prepared, and his coach and him did a very good job."

The stat line was not as kind to Florida A&M who came in as a heavy underdog and only accounted for two first downs in the entire game and 80 yards of total offense. Florida A&M quarterbacks combined for 30 yards of passing while the ground game accounted for 50 yards. The highlight of the day for Florida A&M may have been a 78-yard punt by Colby Blanton who was well warmed up by that point with nine punts on the afternoon.

"It is always worth it," Florida A&M head coach Earl Holmes said after the game when asked if this game was worth playing for his team. The Rattlers were paid $900,000 by Ohio State to come up to Columbus and take part in this game. "We have some guys on our team, with aspirations of playing on Sunday and it is important for them to play in this type of atmosphere. It also makes us come together as a team because out of the 100,000 people in the stadium the only ones cheering for you are your teammates."

Ohio State's 76 points is tied for sixth highest output for the Buckeyes in program history and the most since 1950 when the Buckeyes defeated Iowa 83-21. The last time Ohio State eclipsed the 70-point plateau was against Pitt (72-0) in 1996.

The biggest record set for the day however was Guiton's six touchdown passes. Guiton broke the Ohio State record of five (last accomplished by Bobby Hoying in 1995) and what may be more incredible was the fact that it only took Guiton one half to accomplish that mark after the Smith touchdown with five seconds to go in the half.

"It's a blessing," Guiton said. "I want to thank God, thank the O-Linemen… I had all day (to pass), the coaches wanted to come out throw the ball around and I thank them for the trust they had in me to be able to do that."

One of the surprises of the day was the play of freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott who had 162 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns in mostly second half action in the game. Many people had been focusing on the play of Dontre Wilson (three receptions for 12 yards) but the first year running back out of St. Louis (Mo.) showed a combination of speed, power and vision as he was the only ball carrier to eclipse 100-yards as Ohio State ran for 394 on the day.

"It's been good to get a little more game experience in these early games," Elliott said after the game. "Every time you get game reps it makes you better."

It was also the first action of the year for Jones under center and while Jones did not attempt any passes with the game in hand and Ohio State looking to keep the clock moving, the former Cleveland Glenville Tarblooder was the second leading rusher with 52 yards and Ohio State's final touchdown of the afternoon.

The question comes up however moving forward, is there a quarterback controversy between Miller and Guiton?

"I'm going to see how we practice this week," Meyer said. "But, you know, Braxton is our starting quarterback."

Meyer however is quick to point out that Guiton has earned playing time as well and that could create a dilemma not only for Ohio State coaches but opposing coaches in trying to figure out who they will be facing, even if both run a similar playbook for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State is now riding a 16-game winning streak for the season but the games will get more difficult starting next weekend and Meyer and the staff is not letting the team spend much time celebrating this one.

"We added some stuff tomorrow; they're coming in tomorrow and we're going to have a full day tomorrow and get ready for the next one coming up," Meyer said.

The Buckeyes welcome in Leaders Division foe Wisconsin for the first night game of the season at Ohio Stadium and the game kicks off at 8:00 pm (EDT) and will be seen nationally on ABC Sports.



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