OSU's Guiton, Fields get time in spotlight


OSU's Guiton, Fields get time in spotlight

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) From the moment they first joined Ohio State's football team, quarterback Kenny Guiton and receiver Chris Fields have been in the background.

Fans and reporters brushed by them to get to the starters. Their names seldom were mentioned unless it was someone casting doubt whether they could even fill in if they were suddenly thrust into a game when it mattered.

For years, Guiton and Fields had wondered when - or if - their moment would ever arrive.

``We've been behind some great guys,'' Giuton said, ``so we always talk about when our time comes, we have to take advantage.''

They did, finally, on a crisp Saturday last week. They made up for all the slights by hooking up on a dramatic, last-minute touchdown against Purdue that helped the ninth-ranked Buckeyes avoid their first loss.

Finally, it was their time to step into the spotlight.

``I (used to say to Kenny), `I wish just me and you can go out there and play,''' Fields recalled. ``That's crazy how it ended up being like that.''

With starting quarterback Braxton Miller in the hospital for observation after a hard tackle, and leading receiver Corey Brown out with a slight head injury, Guiton and Fields got a baptism by fire. Purdue led the Buckeyes by eight points in the second half. The clock was ticking. And the Buckeyes weren't making a whole lot of headway.

Guiton had thrown a pass that was tipped away and intercepted with 2:40 to left, giving the Boilermakers - 18 1/2-point underdogs - a clear opportunity to run out the clock.

But Ohio State's defense, benefiting from an offsides call, held. The Buckeyes got the ball back at their own 39 with 47 seconds left. They needed to go 61 yards, score a touchdown and add the two-point conversion just to extend the game.

On first down, Guiton, a fourth-year junior from Houston, avoided pressure and found Devin Smith all alone along the left sideline for 39 yards. Six plays later, a pass interference call gave the Buckeyes a first down at the Purdue 3. On the next snap, Guiton dropped and then glided to his left before firing a low, hard pass that Fields appeared to pluck right off the very surface of the turf with 3 seconds remaining in regulation. It touched off a wild celebration, before and after the play was video-reviewed.

``That was an amazing moment because it's something ... me and Chris have been great friends since we got here,'' Guiton said. ``For us to get that shot and it's me and him actually completing the pass, it was unbelievable.''

It was the second touchdown pass Guiton had ever thrown, and the second that Fields, also an overlooked fourth-year junior, had ever caught. Fields did not have a reception all season before the second half of the Buckeyes' eighth game.

Only two points and one play separated the teams now.

Guiton took the snap and coasted to his left, patiently taking his time. Freshman tight end Jeff Heuerman feigned a block, got tangled with right tackle Reid Fragel, then suddenly appeared, all alone, with several defenders just in front of him at the goal line. Guiton fluttered a soft, cautious pass just over the defense to Heuerman for the tie.

Ohio State, with Guiton completing a key 17-yard pass, then scored in the overtime and held the Boilermakers for its eighth straight win this season.

After the game, Guiton's phone blew up with texts, congratulatory calls and happy emails. Fields, previously a forgotten man, was suddenly getting noticed on campus, having students come up to him to say what a great job he did.

``Some of the efforts I saw tonight were legendary,'' coach Urban Meyer said. Then, speaking of the dramatic late score that might have salvaged a season, the 11-year head coach with three national championships added, ``I mean, that was a moment that I'll certainly never forget.''

At Sunday night's team dinner, the players howled when a video was shown of the last-minute drive. Meyer kept yelling out, ``Kenny G! Kenny G!'' Guiton's and Fields' teammates patted them on the back and laughed with them. They respect them for what they've been through, for how long they've waited for this precious moment in time.

There were times when the two players had thought maybe they didn't fit into Ohio State's plans. There were times they considered quitting school, packing up, going home and trying a fresh start elsewhere.

``It's tough. You get down on yourself a few times, thinking you can't do it,'' Guiton said. ``But at the same time, my parents and my teammates just kept me up, kept me moving forward and were motivation for me to just keep working.''

Now what passes for normalcy has returned to Ohio State's practices. Miller, who appeared to be gravely injured on Saturday, was found to have nothing serious wrong with him beyond a sore neck. He is again the starter for Saturday's big showdown at Penn State.

The injured receivers, Brown among them, have recovered. Fields has returned to his customary spot, backing up the others.

It speaks volumes that when both players spoke with reporters after Wednesday night's practice, they were asked 32 questions - and half of them were about how Miller was feeling, how he looked in practice, if he seemed like his old self.

Guiton and Fields smiled and answered everything. They know that the stars get all the attention. They are content with the fact that when presented with a season-saving situation they came through.

``I've been very humbled with what I've been doing - going out every day at practice, staying positive and working hard,'' Fields said.

An instant after their connection on the touchdown pass, Guiton rushed up and said something to Fields, with whom he shares a similar role on one of the nation's top teams.

``(He told me) that he loves me and we are just like brothers,'' Fields said. ``We work hard each day. It's a privilege that I was able to catch that ball.''


Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:

Quick Links

Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

USA Today Sports Images

Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After a fight-filled start to joint practices between the Redskins and Jets, the Skins' 2018 NFL preseason schedule continues Thursday night at Fed Ex Field against New York. 

Week 2 of the NFL preseason still doesn't provide a lot of answers to questions about team performance, but it begins to reveal the depth the Redskins could have this season.

One storyline that won't be taking place, is the return of former Redskin Terrelle Pryor, who told reporters after Monday's practice he won't be playing in the game.

The Redskins have bigger things to worry about though, like who will replace rookie Derrius Guice, who's now out for the year with a torn ACL.

The Redskins also have one less name in the fight for receiver depth as well, after Robert Davis suffered a season-ending leg injury as well. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.


Who: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets

What: Game 2 of the 2018 NFL Preseason

When: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 90 degrees, partly cloudy


5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Best of the Sports Junkies
7:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live


Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (L, 26-17)

Week 2: Thurs., 8/16, vs. New York Jets, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3: Fri., 8/24, vs. Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. 

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m. 



Quick Links

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

The city of Washington, where he grew up near and was a star in college at Georgetown University, isn't the only factor that makes joining the Wizards familiar for Jeff Green. He is also reuniting with his former coach, Scott Brooks, who now leads the Wizards.

Long ago, Brooks was cutting his teeth on the sidelines while Green was finding his way on the court. When Green was a rookie on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, Brooks was a 42-year-old assistant coach. The team moved to Oklahoma City the following year and by late November of 2008, Brooks was the head coach after P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Brooks helped oversee Green's first four seasons as an NBA player and Green remembers those days well.

"He looked way better than he does now," Green joked.

Brooks, now 53, has a knack for taking playful shots at those he works with, whether that be players, fellow coaches or the media. Green is clearly on that level and feels comfortable ribbing his head coach, knowing he can both dish it out and take it.

All jokes aside, Green is still appreciative of the tutelage he received from Brooks back in the day.

"Scotty was my No. 1 guy, he’s always been, but when I first stepped foot on an NBA floor, he was there for me. He was a coach with Seattle when I first got into the league," Green said.

The NBA has taken Brooks and Green to very different places in the seven years since they split ways. Green left for the Celtics and has since played for the Grizzlies, Clippers, Magic and most recently the Cavaliers. Brooks stuck around with OKC through the 2014-15 season before he was let go. After taking a year off, he joined the Wizards.

Much has changed in Brooks and Green's lives. They have lost and gained jobs. Their families have grown. Now, they are back on the same team and Green is excited about it.

"We’ve been close and tight ever since. We never lost contact. So, I’m looking forward to being coached by him again. I know he’s going to put us all in great positions to succeed. We just have to do our part on the floor," Green said.

Green spoke with Brooks on the phone before deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent in July. His presence was one of the many reasons he felt Washington was a good fit.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!