COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There are times when Kenny Guiton catches another game and admits the thought might pop into his mind.
There are numbers now, too, that the Ohio State backup quarterback certainly could use to support a case that he could be a full-time starter elsewhere and really give another program a lift.
But regardless of what Guiton might see on television around the country or how high he might rank in a few statistical categories, a couple productive starts haven’t done anything to change how he views his role with the No. 4 Buckeyes. So, if Guiton's heading back to the bench with Braxton Miller set to return on Saturday against No. 23 Wisconsin, he won’t be doing so with either his head down or an eye on programs who could have used his services if he hadn’t stuck it out at Ohio State.
“I don’t want to downgrade any quarterbacks in this nation,” Guiton said. “But I look at teams and I think, yeah, I could probably play and do something for that team.
“But I’m here, and I’m OK -- in my senior year, having fun, I’m a leader, a captain. I don’t regret anything.”
There’s also a chance that Guiton might have missed out on a few of the best weeks of his career if he had parted ways with Ohio State after getting passed over in favor of first Joe Bauserman and then Miller two years ago, or if he hadn’t been able to survive a rocky start shortly after that when coach Urban Meyer took over the program.
Instead, after addressing what Guiton himself called a “childish mentality” and committing to improving as both a passer and a teammate, the fifth-year senior has become the poster boy for contributing as a backup at the most important position on the field.
His value has obviously shown up most visibly while filling in as the starter with Miller on the shelf with a sprained knee, and the run Guiton has been on is nothing short of spectacular regardless of the level of competition. His 12 touchdown passes since taking the reins on the first drive of a win over San Diego State on Sept. 7 represent the most prolific three-game stretch in school history, with one of those scores covering 90 yards and going down as the longest play ever at Ohio State. Only three quarterbacks in the country have thrown for more touchdowns at this point of the season than Guiton, and he ranks No. 13 in the nation in passing efficiency while leading an attack that is fourth overall in scoring offense averaging more than 52 points per game.
The numbers are dizzying, and the individual awards that have streamed in, like his back-to-back Big Ten offensive player of the week honors, have also appeared to somewhat overwhelm him. But for whatever else the statistics or accolades might mean to him, Guiton isn’t using them to build a case to keep taking the first-team snaps with Miller poised to return.
“Oh, not at all,” Guiton said. “I’m going to keep my head up no matter what. I’ve been through a lot, man. I’m in my fifth year, I’m a senior, I’ve been through so much here and I wouldn’t want to hit another down time in my life just because I got to start and then the guy came back.
“I’m not that type of guy, I’m not going to get my head down or be the type of guy expecting one thing and then another thing comes. I’m going to come in every day with my head up being a leader, being the same guy that I’ve always been.”
That guy has shown plenty of times before how much he can offer his team coming off the bench. Going back there to do it again isn’t going to be a problem.