Florida A&M vs. Ohio State: 10 Things We Learned in Buckeyes' Win
The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes dismantled the Florida A&M Rattlers 76-0 in Columbus Saturday afternoon, pushing their record to 4-0 and the nation's longest winning streak to 16.
The Buckeyes were once again led by backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, who started in place of the injured Braxton Miller for the second consecutive week.
All Guiton did was lead Ohio State's offense to more than 600 yards of total offense, a number they eclipsed on the road against Cal last week.
The Buckeyes officially closed out their nonconference schedule with the win. Things will get much tougher for Ohio State in conference play, but here's 10 things we learned from an easy victory over Florida A&M.
Ohio State Is Still Elite with Kenny Guiton at the Helm
Every time Kenny Guiton takes the field, he proves that Ohio State is still an elite team regardless of Braxton Miller's playing status.
Although it's possible that Florida A&M could be the worst team to visit Ohio Stadium over the last 50 years, Guiton made history against the Rattlers.
The fifth-year senior set a single-game school record with six touchdown passes, a mark he set five seconds before the halftime whistle blew.
Over the last three games, Guiton has thrown for 643 yards, 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions, all while completing 68 percent of his passes. He has also run for 180 yards and one touchdown on just 24 carries.
The Buckeyes haven't skipped a beat with Guiton behind center, and neither has Ohio State's quest for a national title.
Despite Kenny Guiton's Play, There Is No Quarterback Controversy
Kenny Guiton has played phenomenal football over the last three weeks, but according to Urban Meyer, there is no quarterback controversy in Columbus.
Per Eleven Warriors, Meyer was asked after the game whether Braxton Miller remains the team's top quarterback. According to Ben Axelrod of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, there's a clear pecking order.
"(Braxton Miller) is our starting quarterback. Our backup has earned some time" - Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) September 21, 2013
Miller is nearing a return to the field after spraining his MCL against San Diego State, and when he's healthy, he'll be the starter.
The Tight Ends Are Alive in Columbus
Ohio State's dynamic duo at the tight end position—Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett—came into the season with a lot of hype.
This was supposed to be the year Ohio State utilized the tight end position, but through three games, Heuerman and Vannett had combined to catch just six passes for 55 yards and no touchdowns.
It was a different story against Florida A&M.
The Rattlers blitzed on almost every play, and Heuerman and Vannett made them pay. The pair combined for seven catches, 79 yards and a touchdown.
It will be interesting to see if Ohio State continues to look at the tight ends against the less-aggressive teams on its schedule, but for one game, Heuerman and Vannett showed how valuable they can be.
Florida A&M's Offense Was Worse Than Anticipated
Florida A&M came in as a 52.5-point underdog, per Vegas Insider, so it wasn't a surprise to see Ohio State dominate, but the Rattlers were completely overwhelmed on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, Florida A&M managed just 80 total yards and two first downs. The Rattlers never crossed midfield and averaged just one yard per play while being shut out.
Quarterback Damien Fleming struggled, throwing for just 30 yards on 16 pass attempts. No Rattlers receiver or running back eclipsed 20 yards of offense.
The Buckeyes completely dominated the game, even when the second-team defense played a majority of the second half.
Carlos Hyde Still Has That Power
Carlos Hyde made his season debut Saturday after serving a three-game suspension, and unsurprisingly, he proved that he's still the team's strongest runner.
In fact, his first action came when Ohio State faced a 4th-and-1 in the first quarter. The 6'0", 235-pound running back lowered his shoulder and pushed the pile for three yards to get the first down. Later on the drive, he took a shovel pass from one-yard out for a touchdown.
Hyde finished the day with 41 rushing yards, but that came from just five carries. The senior showed his power on a 21-yard run in the second quarter when he dragged multiple defenders with him after being hit at the line of scrimmage.
No one could replace Hyde's power running while he was suspended, and now that he's back, the Buckeyes are more dimensional on offense.
Braxton Miller’s Fading Heisman Campaign Could Have Used This Game
Braxton Miller has slipped in Heisman polls every week since the college football season started, and his campaign could have received a huge boost if he were healthy enough to go against Florida A&M.
The Buckeyes were simply faster and stronger than the Rattlers at every level, which enabled Guiton to throw six touchdowns in one half.
Had Miller played, he may not have thrown six touchdowns, but he would have put up monster numbers to put him back on the Heisman radar.
With Miller missing all but seven plays of the last three games, his chances of winning the Heisman are all but over.
Third-String Quarterback Cardale Jones Is a Tank
Braxton Miller's injury did give Ohio State fans their first look at third-string quarterback Cardale Jones.
After redshirting as a freshman last year, Jones saw his first collegiate action in the second half against the Rattlers.
Although he didn't get to throw the ball—Ohio State didn't attempt a single pass in the second half—Jones showed some power running the ball.
In two second-half drives, Jones ran for 52 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries. The 6'5", 250-pound quarterback wasn't afraid to lower his shoulder and fight for the tough yards, but he also showed some agility running the ball.
Ezekiel Elliott Gives Ohio State Absurd Depth at Running Back
It was Kenny Guiton's show in the first half, but the spotlight shifted to freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott in the second.
Elliott posted a game-high 162 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries in the second half. The freshman was explosive, posting five runs of 10 yards or more, which included his 57-yard run in the third quarter.
That performance came from the fourth running back on Ohio State's depth chart.
Jordan Hall, Rod Smith and Carlos Hyde were the first three running backs to hit the field Saturday, but their rushing totals combined fell 56 yards shy of matching Elliot's output.
Ohio State Is Nearly Unstoppable in the Red Zone
Ohio State invaded Florida A&M's red zone 11 times Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes were perfect on the day, coming away with 11 touchdowns.
That's a reflection of Ohio State's nearly flawless efficiency in the red zone this season.
The Buckeyes have breached their opponents' 20-yard line a total of 21 times through four games. Only once against Cal did Ohio State fail to score a touchdown, but even then, Drew Basil chipped in a field goal.
That speaks to a number of things, including good decision making from Ohio State's quarterbacks, but more so to the Buckeyes' ability to flex their muscle in the running game.
This Game Shouldn't Have Been Scheduled
Other than inflating stats, this game accomplished very little for Ohio State in the grand scheme of things.
For starters, the Buckeyes' strength of schedule will take a huge hit.
Florida A&M is No. 213 in Sagarin Ratings. Ohio State playing an SOS anchor. Just scheduling the game was a bad idea, much less playing it.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) September 21, 2013
When it comes to the national title race, a strong nonconference slate is what sets a team apart from other contenders. Playing in what people consider a weak Big Ten conference, Ohio State needs all the help it can get.
Granted, Ohio State did have Vanderbilt scheduled for the season opener, but the Commodores backed out just 11 months before the game was to take place.
It wasn't Florida A&M who replaced Vanderbilt, though. Ohio State plugged San Diego State into that slot.
Even though Ohio State posted a 76-point victory, this game could end up hurting the Buckeyes more than it helped them if, hypothetically speaking, there are three undefeated teams left at the end of the year.
All stats via ESPN.com.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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