Braxton Miller’s touchdown pass lifts Ohio State over Cal
Columbus, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller tossed four touchdown passes, including the game-winning 72-yard heave to a wide-open Devin Smith to help Ohio State escape with a hard-earned 35-28 victory over California Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
The game was tied at 28 when Miller found Smith unchallenged downfield for a touchdown with less than four minutes in the game before Christian Bryant intercepted Zach Maynard’s pass to seal the Buckeyes’ third straight win at home.
Miller completed just 16 of 30 passes for 249 yards and added 75 yards and one touchdown on 12 rushes while Smith was outstanding for the Buckeyes’ receiving corps, accounting for 145 of the team’s 249 catching yards and had two touchdowns.
Tight end Jake Stoneburner also caught two touchdown passes from Miller and finished with 44 yards on three receptions for the Buckeyes, who moved to 3-0 for the first time since the vacated season of 2010 and only the second time in the past five seasons.
“The best thing about 3-0 is the chance to go 4-0 and that’s about it,” said coach Urban Meyer, who lamented the team’s poor defense that allowed Cal to rack up 512 total yards, the most by an OSU opponent since Minnesota had 578 during a 45-31 loss to Ohio State in 2005.
Tailback Brandon Bigelow rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns on only four carries, while Maynard completed 26 of 37 pass attempts for 280 yards and one score for the Golden Bears (1-2).
“We played a very quality opponent and I thought our guys found a way. Defensively, it was bad tackling. I don’t know. It’s time to play Ohio State defense and that wasn’t Ohio State defense. We’ve got to get that figured out,” Meyer said.
Miller put the Buckeyes on the board with a 55-yard touchdown run but Drew Basil missed the kick that could have given the Buckeyes an additional point.
Maynard answered with a 17-yard heave to freshman wideout Chris Harper to give the Golden Bears a 7-6 lead.
Then, Miller led the Buckeyes’ four-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard touchdown catch by Miller for a 13-7 lead before ending the half with a 20-7 advantage after a Stoneburner touchdown.