Thursday, December 13, 2012
Perfect moments: No. 2
By Austin Ward
BuckeyeNation counts down the five biggest moments on the march to perfection for Ohio State, from the biggest games and plays to the locker room speeches and celebrations -- continuing today with one of the most unforgettable short-yardage plays ever.
Maybe the odds could have been longer, but it's hard to figure how.
The Buckeyes had struggled offensively even with Braxton Miller healthy and in the game at quarterback, and trailing in the fourth quarter at home on Oct. 20, they had to make do without him.
On top of that, they trailed Purdue by eight with just more than three minutes left as the defense trotted on the field following an ill-advised throw from backup Kenny Guiton that was intercepted, seemingly ending the hopes of an undefeated season while Miller was being checked out at an area hospital.
Step one in a miraculous comeback: Get a three-and-out stop from the defense and preserve as much as possible.
Step two: Drive 61 yards without a timeout in the final minute.
Step three: Get a circus catch from another seldom-used reserve, wide receiver Chris Fields.
Step four: Maintain composure and complete a do-or-die two-point conversion.
Step five: Win in overtime.
That formula would have been tough enough with Miller at the helm, but over 47 wild seconds, Guiton answered every challenge thrown his way and delivered the signature drive of the perfect season, rescuing the Buckeyes and adding to his resume as the ultimate reliever off the bench.
"Some of the efforts I saw tonight were legendary," coach Urban Meyer said after the escape act was completed. "That was a moment that I certainly will never forget, the quarterback jogging in the game.
"The right-hander, he just did a heck of a job."
Miller returned to the starting gig the next week after recovering from the violent hit that gave him whiplash and an ambulance ride, and he delivered one of his most memorable performances in leading the Buckeyes past Penn State on the road.
But that game might not have meant nearly as much without some help from his backup, and Guiton's place in Ohio State lore is now secure thanks largely to one perfect drive.