Kenny Guiton threw four touchdown passes to lead fourth-ranked Ohio State in a 52-34 victory over California on Saturday.
Guiton, who got the start in place of injured Braxton Miller, finished the game 21-for-32 for 276 yards and tossed two of his scores to Devin Smith, who had three catches for 149 yards for the Buckeyes (3-0), who got 168 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries from Jordan Hall.
"I'm glad we're not playing them for a while," said Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. "That quarterback is a good player, and that tempo and style of offense -- you can see why they led the nation at Louisiana Tech and why they lead the nation right now in throwing."
Jared Goff passed for 371 yards on three scores with one interception while going 31-for-53 for the Golden Bears (1-2), who were coming off a 37-30 win over Portland State last Saturday.
Ohio State scored quickly after holding California to a three-and-out as Guiton found Smith for a 90-yard score less than two minutes in.
It was Guiton and Smith connecting again on a 47-yard score after another quick possession from the Golden Bears, and a 1-yard touchdown pass from Guiton to Chris Fields made it a 21-0 game six minutes in.
"We have started so poorly for three weeks," said California head coach Sonny Dykes. "It is something as a coaching staff that we have talked a lot about, and talked to some players about it. I don't really have an answer at this point, but it is something we need to get fixed."
California countered with a big play of its own to get on the board as Goff and James Grisom got together for a 61-yard score, but Ohio State turned a Goff interception into three points on a 39-yard field goal from Drew Basil for a 24-7 lead with 3:45 left in the first quarter.
The Golden Bears came right back down the field with a nine-play drive that covered 82 yards and was capped on a 42-yard touchdown catch by Chris Harper from Goff to make it a 24-14 game in the final minute of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, a 1-yard touchdown run by Hall finished off a 12-play, 60-yard march to give the Buckeyes a 31-14 lead, but the Golden Bears got field goals of 27 and 43 yards from Vincenzo D'Amato, with the last one coming on the final play of the half to make it a 31-20 game at the break.
The Buckeyes began the second half with the ball and added to its lead with a 9-play, 75-yard drive that Hall finished with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone for a 38-20 advantage.
Ohio State's next possession also bore fruit, as Guiton hit Corey Brown for a 6-yard score to finish off a 15-play, 80-yard drive that ate up over six minutes of the clock for a 45-20 lead with 5:26 to play in the third.
California got a big return on the ensuing kickoff and that helped set up Goff's 14-yard scoring toss to Bryce Treggs to make it a 45-27 game less than a minute later.
The Golden Bears went for an onsides kick, but Ohio State recovered and used the good field position to get a 2-yard score from Hall for a 52-27 lead with 2:02 to play in the third.
California made it a 52-34 game on Daniel Lasco's 1-yard touchdown run, but it was with 6:06 to play and the team was unable to get any closer.
Lasco finished the game with 10 carries for 64 yards ... Guiton also had 92 yards on 14 carries ... Ohio State totaled 608 yards and controlled the ball for nearly 34 minutes, while California amassed 503 yards ... Harper led all California receivers with 115 yards on six catches ... Ohio State leads the all-time series, 7-1 ... Ohio State plays its last non-conference game next week at home against Florida A&M ... California has off next week and will open Pac-12 play at Oregon on Sept. 28.