Ohio State scored a lot of points last season, but it was mainly a result of two players.
Quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde had a hand in 45 of the team’s 54 touchdowns in Ohio State’s perfect 2012 campaign.
Through three games this season, the Buckeyes’ offense has been even more productive. Ohio State is averaging 44.7 points per game, up from 37.2 last season, despite needing very little from their two main cogs from last season.
Hyde has yet to play in a game because of his three-game suspension for an off-the-field incident and Miller has played in only five quarters because of a left knee sprain.
The backups have been just as productive as the starters. In some cases, more productive.
In place of Miller, Kenny Guiton has passed for 449 yards and seven touchdowns, while rushing for 181 yards and another score.
The Texas native was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation player of the week for his 368 total yards of offense against California last week. That came in his first career start.
Miller may be back this week, but regardless of what happens to him down the line, it is a tremendous luxury to have a weapon like Guiton waiting in the wings. It is like having a BMW replacing a Mercedes.
Jordan Hall has been the primary replacement for Hyde. The senior has responded with 402 yards and six touchdowns in three games. He was electric against Cal, rushing for a career-high 168 yards and three TDs.
Now, with Hyde back from suspension, Urban Meyer and his staff have another big-time running back to unleash on the opposing defense.
Meyer has complained from his first day at Ohio State about the lack of explosiveness at the receiver position. Junior Devin Smith and senior Corey Brown have eased that concern, combining for 389 yards and six touchdowns in the early going this season.
True freshman Dontre Wilson has also been a jolt to the offense. The speedy rookie from Texas is second on the team in rushing with 121 yards on just 13 attempts. He is averaging 9.3 yards per carry.
In his Monday press conference, Meyer said the Cal game was the first time the offense played the way he and offensive coordinator Tom Herman envisioned it operating when they came to Ohio State.
That is promising news for Buckeye fans, but is not good for opposing defensive coordinators. As Herman and Meyer continue to tinker their attack and add talent to it, the scoring totals should only increase.