[Editor’s Note: From now until Big Ten Media Days, we’ll be reaching into The-Ozone’s 23 years worth of archives and each day we will be posting a story from yesteryear. Big moments, small moments, big games, bigger games, and the random recruiting updates about guys you haven’t thought about in a decade or two.]
October 21, 2012 | This story comes from Tony Gerdeman and covers the day that Kenny Guiton became an Ohio State legend. The 2012 Buckeyes were hosting Purdue in a classic trap game, as they would be heading for Penn State the following week. Quarterback Braxton Miller went down with an injury and ‘Coach Kenny’ stepped in with the Buckeyes trailing 20-14 at the end of the third quarter. A few minutes later, tight end Jeff Heuerman committed a penalty in the end zone, giving Purdue a safety and an 8-point lead. Then, with 47 seconds remaining, Guiton took the Buckeyes 61 yards for a touchdown. And a two-point conversion. And then an overtime win. The Buckeyes moved to 8-0 on what would eventually become an undefeated season. — TG
With finishes like this, who needs bowl games?
Just when you think you’ve seen everything that a sport has to offer, something new comes along to make you wonder what else the fates are keeping you from seeing.
When Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush’s desperation fourth-down pass sailed out of the back of the end zone in overtime, Buckeye players were celebrating their 29-22 win by grabbing any familiar face that they could find and embracing that someone with whatever strength and energy they had left to give.
And the smiles were spread across all one hundred yards.
Standing on the sidelines where the action was occurring, the final minutes were an unforgettable scene. Watching Chris Fields come up from his diving touchdown catch to immediately look at the line judge to see if he caught it, and the display of joy from Fields as he spontaneously mimicked the ensuing touchdown call was astonishing.
It was clear that he wanted to explode, but he also knew that without a two-point conversion, all his touchdown would do is make this an even more painful loss.
With the offense huddling and getting ready for the two-point conversion that would tie the game, familiar face Zach Boren put himself in that huddle and laid it out for his team.
“I don’t know, I was jacked up,” he said.
“I was trying to pump them up a bit, that’s it. I’ve never been a part of a comeback like that. Everything was against us – fans leaving, injuries, field position.”
And when Kenny Guiton slow-played the entire Purdue defense and calmly found Jeff Heuerman releasing in the open for the two-point conversion, Fields and his teammates were finally free to explode, and they did.
Players and coaches burst off of the sideline like they were in a race to see who could celebrate first.
But there was still the small matter of overtime.
“I wanted to tell my team to calm down because I knew it wasn’t over,” Guiton said. “I was happy, but at the same time I was ready to go again.”
Is it any wonder they call him ‘Coach Kenny?’
Following TerBush’s last gasp to end the game, Guiton was mobbed like the star he had just become. His helmet was slapped enough times to nearly wear the paint off. Running to sing “Carmen Ohio” in front of South Stands, he was stopped by his own teammates wanting to show their appreciation for what he had done.
“To tell you the truth it’s humbling,” Guiton said. “I wasn’t expected to do much. When I went in, I was like, ‘I have to step up’ and I felt like I stepped up for my team.”
No doubt the coaches and players who were now mobbing each other in the south end zone would agree.
As they gathered as a team, lining up to sing “Carmen Ohio,” the fans broke into a chant of “Urban! Urban! Urban!” and the head coach who has seen it all in his time showed the type of excitement and jubilation that is generally reserved for his players.
Pumping his fist and inciting the crowd to get on their feet, The Best Damn Band in the Land then changed gears and instead of “Carmen Ohio,” they broke into a growing favorite among the players called “Buckeye Swag.”
If you watched the mob closely, you would have seen Meyer bow out at that point because he apparently didn’t have the dance moves in him. Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs, however, had no such governor. He was in the scrum with the players dancing like nobody was watching. After what they had just been through, who would even care?
And following “Carmen Ohio,” the team began the trek up the tunnel and to their locker room. There were still players grabbing Guiton from behind to offer a thank you, a congratulations, a hug.
This was a kid who decided to come to Ohio State from Texas almost sight unseen, and now his own teammates were just wanting to touch him, like he was Elvis and they were middle-aged women.
The coaches and players have talked all season long about their confidence in Kenny Guiton, and in those final two possessions for the Buckeyes, we got to see every last bit of what they were talking about.
This has been quite an unpredictable season for the Buckeyes. The way this game ended — and the players involved in ending it — is the truest example of that.
Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you realize that if that were true, you wouldn’t be watching in the first place.