For the third time in as many weeks, my Buckeye Leaf goes to Kenny Guiton. The Buckeyes' backup signal caller was once again impressive, shaking off an opening drive interception to throw a school record six touchdowns against the Rattlers. This still may be Braxton Miller's team, but Guiton has earned playing time according to Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, and deservedly so. There might not be a quarterback controversy in Columbus just yet, but for the first time in his career, Miller will be feeling some heat should things go awry moving forward.
The tight end position is alive and well in the Ohio State offense after all. As such, tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett split my Buckeye Leaf for this week. Prior to this season, Ohio State tight ends coach Tim Hinton called for two-tight end sets and prolific performances from players in his room, but that vision wasn't realized until game No. 4. Heuerman and Vannett combined for only six catches through the first three games of the season. Against Florida A&M, OSU's tight ends caught six passes and one touchdown in the first half alone. Heuerman bullied the Rattlers defense between the hash marks, catching four balls for 43 yards. He scored a touchdown and also helped set up an Evan Spencer score on a 17-yard catch. Vannett went for two catches of his own, which doubled his season total.
Senior quarterback Kenny Guiton completed yet another impressive performance – record breaking, in fact – under center, but that's far more a reflection of Florida A&M than anything Ohio State accomplished. Instead, I'll give my Buckeye Leaf to freshman tailback Ezekiel Elliott, who led the Buckeyes with 162 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. The St. Louis native hadn't received many touches in his first three games, a situation that Meyer admitted he wished he could fix, but he made the most of his chance to make an impact on offense.
It's hard to beat six touchdown passes in one game, but I'll pick Jeff Heuerman as my player of the game. Ohio State tight ends coach Tim Hinton told reporters on Monday that "defenses just didn't cooperate" on pass calls meant to go to tight ends so far this season. That wasn't the cast against Florida A&M. The blitz-heavy Rattlers often were left with mismatches against Heuerman. He caught four passes – as many as he had coming into the game – for 43 yards and a touchdown.
I'm going to go outside the box and give my recognition to Ezekiel Elliott, who helped pass the time in the second half by running 14 times for 162 yards. It was by far the best day of his young career, and he gave a sneak peak at what Ohio State fans can look forward to in the future if the Missouri native can stay healthy. A mix of speed and elusiveness, Elliott looks like a great fit as the "traditional" running back in Urban Meyer's spread offense. His continued success figures to push some of the older backs to continue to work hard to stay in the rotation as well.
OK, this is a total homer pick, but since Jeff Heuerman and Kenny Guiton already got their due, I'm going to go with some Lorain County pride and pick defensive lineman Chase Farris. He was an offensive lineman all through camp then switched to defense right before the season, and yet there he was getting a start in place of the injured Michael Bennett and making a sack in his fourth game of the campaign. Farris selflessness is typical on a team that has won all 16 of its games the past two seasons, and for that he gets my helmet sticker.