Most Important Buckeyes - No. 20

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Last updated: 12/17/2012 1:26 PM

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Most Important Buckeyes: Postseason No. 20
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Before the start of the 2012 football season, we put together a list of the Top 20 Most Important Buckeyes heading into Urban Meyer’s first season at Ohio State.

As it turns out, we were dead-right with a couple of our picks, especially near the top of the list . Before we anoint ourselves as a group of Nostradamus protégés, however, we must admit there were a few glaring mistakes on our countdown of the guys we thought would be the most important pieces to Meyer’s first football team in Columbus.

Now that the Buckeyes have wrapped up a perfect 12-0 season, with no bowl game to play, we decided to take a look back at the guys who really made the biggest impact on Ohio State’s undefeated season in 2012.

Which guys did we get right? Which ones came out of nowhere to leave a lasting impression? We start our countdown with a guy who almost single-handedly helped the Buckeyes snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

His name is Kenny, but Ohio State fans might better recognize him as ‘Coach Guiton.’

What Made Him Important?

Kenny Guiton
Photo by Jim Davidson
Kenny Guiton

With only 20 spots to fill on our countdown of the Most Important Buckeyes, it seems odd to fill one of them with a guy who has never started a game at Ohio State. That doesn’t mean Kenny Guiton wasn’t critical to Ohio State’s success in 2012.

In fact, anyone who followed the Buckeyes closely this season can understand why No. 13 made our list despite the fact he threw for a total of 139 yards this season. The first 37 of those yards came in garbage time against Miami University, but the next 91 were critical to Ohio State’s undefeated season.

Guiton’s 14-yard shovel pass to Carlos Hyde gave the Buckeyes a two-score lead at Indiana in week seven, and they would need every one of those points before it was over. Ohio State barely held on to win that game, 52-49, over the Hoosiers, but it was the following week where Guiton cemented his spot on our list.

Braxton Miller had been knocked out of a handful of games through the year, but nothing close to what happened against Purdue in week eight. That’s when Miller was taken to the locker room on a cart after being dragged down awkwardly on hard tackle from behind.

He ended up in the hospital while his teammates were faced with a 22-14 deficit when Miller left the game in the second half. Guiton came on and threw a pick that had some OSU fans heading for the exit, but it wasn’t over for the fourth-year junior.

Guiton rallied the Buckeyes for a touchdown – a 2-yard pass to Chris Fields – and then found tight end Jeff Heuerman in the end zone for the game-tying two-point conversion. He set up Hyde’s game-winning touchdown in overtime with a 17-yard pass down the middle to Jake Stoneburner.

What Would the Buckeyes Have Done Without Him? 

Kenny Guiton
Photo by Jim Davidson
Kenny Guiton

Who knows? Without his heroic performance against Purdue though the Buckeyes don't have an undefeated season. He was also pretty good at finishing some other drives earlier in the year when Miller had to leave the game because of a minor injury, but let’s face it, those couple drives against the Boilermakers cemented Guiton’s place in Ohio State history.

Without him, the Buckeyes theoretically would have had to throw true freshman Cardale Jones out there for his first action at the college level. Maybe he ends up becoming a great quarterback at OSU, but something tells me they don’t win that game if Guiton isn’t the backup when Miller goes down with the injury.

How Does it Compare to Our Preseason Expectations?

Guiton wasn’t even on our radar in the preseason, although maybe he should have been. We had Braxton Miller rated as the No. 1 Most Important player on this football team, so wouldn’t his backup be pretty important as well?

As it turns out, he was. But we didn’t know exactly what to expect from the kid from Aldine, Texas before Urban Meyer showed up with his new quarterbacks coach, Tom Herman. Guiton had been a bit of an enigma during his first three seasons at Ohio State, so even the fact he was backing up the most important player on our countdown didn’t automatically garner him some consideration as one of the more crucial players on the OSU roster heading into the season.

We heard Meyer say Guiton had “turned himself around” in the six months leading up to fall camp, but he had only thrown for five yards in his entire college career before this season. That included last year, when the Buckeyes were an absolute mess at the quarterback position. Guiton couldn’t even get on the field in between the meltdown of Joe Bauserman and the trial by fire for Miller, who clearly wasn’t ready to step into the spotlight early in his freshman year.

Give Meyer and Herman a ton of credit for turning Guiton into a leader and player they could count on when the chips were down. Everyone in Columbus should feel better about next season knowing “Coach Guiton” will be back for another season as the “ole righty out of the bullpen” when they need him.

Guiton replaces kicker Drew Basil who was No. 20 on our preseason countdown of the Most Important Buckeyes.

* Check back Wednesday as Tony Gerdeman reveals No. 19 on our postseason countdown of the 20 Most Important Buckeyes during an undefeated season at Ohio State.

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