COLUMBUS - Ohio State coach Urban Meyer talked about legends after Ohio State's stunning 29-22 overtime win over Purdue on Saturday.
But the players who were at the center of a game-saving comeback in the final 47 seconds weren't legends, weren't household names and don't wear the numbers on the jerseys fans buy to wear to games.
The key players in a comeback that probably ranked with anything in the last two decades of Ohio State football were a seldom-used backup quarterback, a receiver who was so far out of favor with Ohio State's coaches he'd had no catches this season, and a tight end who just played his way into the starting lineup in the last two weeks.
Kenny Guiton, Chris Fields and Jeff Heuerman weren't on anybody's list for hero duty until the magic that unfolded after more than a few fans had given up and were headed toward the parking lot.
"It was a great, great win. Some of the efforts I saw today were legendary," Meyer said. "That was a moment I'll never forget."
No. 7 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) was down 22-14, starting on its own 39-yard line with no timeouts, with 47 seconds to play with quarterback Braxton Miller at Ohio State Medical Center being examined for a possible concussion.
It was not a situation that created a lot of optimism, but Guiton, Fields and Heuerman changed that.
Then in overtime, Ohio State's offense and defense both dominated in a way they had been unable to do in regulation to complete the comeback.
Miller, who was released after doctors found no concussion symptoms, was injured at the end of a 39-yard run late in the third quarter with Purdue leading 20-14.
Guiton's first two series at quarterback ended with a safety that put Purdue up 22-14 and an interception.
But he started the final OSU possession in regulation with a 39-yard throw to Devin Smith, then finished it with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Fields with two seconds to play and a two-point conversion pass to Heuerman.
In overtime, Guiton connected with Jake Stoneburner for a 17-yard completion for a first down. Three plays later OSU scored on a 1-yard run by Carlos Hyde, then stopped Purdue on four plays.
"A lot of nerves came through my mind and everything. The people around me got me calmed down and ready to go and went out and had some fun with it," Guiton said. "It (the final drive) is a longshot situation but at the same time you have to have your head up and be ready to take it on."
Purdue (3-4, 0-3 Big Ten) appeared ready to duplicate the upsets previous Boilermakers teams had hung on Ohio State last year and in 2009. But this time, Ohio State had an answer - an unexpected one, but still an answer.
Purdue coach Danny Hope said his team gave Guiton too much time to throw on the final drive and in overtime.
"We didn't manufacture enough pass rush and Ohio State was able to get better protection than I thought they should have been able to get," he said. "They made the plays they needed to and we didn't."
Purdue made the big plays early, starting with an 83-yard touchdown pass from Caleb TerBush to Akeem Shavers on the first offensive play of the game, then followed that up with a 100-yard kickoff return for a score by Akeem Hunt later in the first quarter.
Another big play, a 31-yard pass from TerBush to Gary Bush late in the third quarter, put Purdue up 20-14.
Purdue, which had given up 467 yards rushing to Wisconsin last week and 304 yards on the ground against Michigan two weeks ago, limited Miller to 47 yards rushing on 12 carries and 9 of 20 for 113 yards passing.
Hyde led Ohio State with 91 yards on 19 carries, but the offense was outgained 347 yards to 342 by Purdue.