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 — 18½-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.