COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three up, three down for Urban Meyer and the 12th-ranked Buckeyes. But it sure wasn’t easy. California’s offense kept the Buckeyes defense off-balance and nearly escaped with an upset victory.
The common denominator for Ohio State’s perfect start has been the explosive play of quarterback Braxton Miller. Saturday was no exception. The sophomore signal caller electrified the Ohio Stadium faithful with a dazzling 55-yard first quarter touchdown run en route about 200 first half all-purpose yards as the Buckeyes came from behind to beat PAC-12 heavyweight California 35-28.
Miller was spectacular in the first half. He was 10-14 for 129 yards, and added another 64 on the ground and accounted for three touchdowns. With Ohio State trailing 7-6 midway through the second quarter, Miller found Devin Smith with a 25 yard dart in the corner of the end zone to give the Buckeyes the lead. It capped off a four-play 75 yard drive in 1:11. After a short California punt on their next drive, Miller engineered a five-play 45 yard driving by finding tight-end Jake Stoneburner for a one-yard touchdown toss. Ohio State lead 20-7 at halftime.
After a Brendan Bigelow’s 81-yard video-game type touchdown scamper midway in the third quarter, California took the lead early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Zach Maynard scored on one-yard run to silence the crowd of 105,000-plus fans.
Ohio State answered behind the legs and arm of Miller. He orchestrated a 11-play 75- yard drive in 3:55, capping it off with a three yard touchdown pass to Stoneburner. Miller kept it on an end around for the two-point conversion to put Ohio State up 28-21.
The Bears would not go away. On Cal’s next possession, Bigelow escaped around the left side and raced 60 yards for tying touchdown. The game was tied at 28-28 with 8:00 left in the ball game.
Miller threw an interception on the next drive, but the Golden Bears blew their chance to pull ahead when Vincenzo D’Amato missed a field goal.
Then, Devon Smith ran for 72 yards to capture the victory for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State will try to finish the month of September with perfection with a win next week against UAB. Kickoff is set for noon at Ohio Stadium.