Columbus, OH – Braxton Miller threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith late in the fourth quarter to lift 12th-ranked Ohio State to a 35-28 victory over California.
Miller led the Buckeyes to their first two victories primarily with his legs, rushing for 161 yards in the opener against Miami-Ohio and 141 yards last week against UCF. On Saturday, he managed only 75 yards on the ground but threw for 249 yards with four scores.
His final pass gave Ohio State (3-0) the lead for good.
Smith, who finished with 145 yards on five receptions, was 15 yards behind the California defense on a 3rd-and-7 play. Miller bought a little time with his legs before spotting the wide open Smith, who cruised down the right sideline into the end zone for the go-ahead score with 3:26 remaining.
Cal still had time and drove to its own 42 before Christian Bryant picked off a Zach Maynard pass at the Ohio State 37 to seal the contest.
Maynard threw for 280 yards with a touchdown for the Bears (1-2), who were their own worst enemy on Saturday. A holding call negated a touchdown and Vincenzo D'Amato missed a trio of field goals.
Brendan Bigelow rushed for 160 yards on just four carries for Cal, scoring on an 81-yard run in the third quarter and a 60-yard jaunt in the fourth.