The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes cruised to another quick first quarter lead en route to a fast-paced 52-34 victory against California in Berkeley on Saturday night.
Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, in his first-ever career start in place of the injured Braxton Miller, shined with 368 total yards and four touchdowns. His 90-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith on OSU’s second play from scrimmage went down in the records books as the longest play in school history.
The mostly scarlet-clad Memorial Stadium in Berkeley cheered on as the Buckeyes romped to a 21-0 advantage within the game’s first six minutes. It was the third time in as many weeks that Ohio State had taken a three touchdown lead within the first quarter. Similar to week one against Buffalo, the game was back-and-forth from there.
OSU’s defense didn’t look pretty, as they preceded to allow over 500 yards of offense to the Golden Bears, who entered the game with one of college football’s fastest-paced offenses. True freshman quarterback Jared Goff threw for 371 yards, by far the worst game of his young career (he had 450 and 481 in his first two games).
Yet the game was never really much in doubt. Although the Bears had an opportunity to cut the margin within one score at the end of the first half, they had to settle for a field goal and a 31-20 intermission deficit. From there, Jordan Hall picked up the second of his three touchdowns en route to a 168-yard game. The Buckeyes then again increased their lead to 45-20.
It certainly wasn’t a seamless performance by any means, but the Buckeyes will take the career-best performances from Guiton and Hall with the victory. They have one more final non-conference tuneup — next Saturday at noon against Florida A&M at The Horseshoe — before Big Ten play arrives at the end of the month. Then, these post-first quarter lapses could actually come back to bite them big time. For now, it’s just another win.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.