Instant Analysis: No. 12 OSU 35, Cal 28
September, 15, 2012
By Chantel Jennings | ESPN.com
The Horseshoe is a difficult venue for any team to play in, even a team that didn't have a true home game last season, like Cal. And the Golden Bears learned that lesson as well as anyone as they dropped a close game to Ohio State 35-28 in Columbus.
The win moved No. 12 Ohio State to 3-0, with all three wins having come at home. And with one more nonconference game (also at home) before the Buckeyes start Big Ten play, they are setting themselves up to have quite the home win streak going.
It was over when: Cal quarterback Zach Maynard threw an interception with a minute remaining in the game. The senior threw his only interception of the game on a first-and-10 even though his target downfield was faced with triple coverage. With the overthrow, Ohio State returned the ball, then took a knee for the win on its ensuing possession.
Game ball goes to: Christian Bryant. The junior defensive back returned Maynard's interception for 38 yards and extinguished any kind of comeback Cal was plotting.
Stat of the game: Ohio State recorded six sacks by six different players.
The defense wasn't suffocating by any means. It allowed 520 yards of Cal offense and was a big part of Ohio State's 11 penalties. But Buckeyes kept Maynard aware and rushed the QB well. Because of the blitzes and sacks, Maynard finished the day with minus-46 rushing yards.
What we learned about Ohio State: The Buckeyes can beat good teams even when quarterback Braxton Miller is hot and cold.
We seemed to see the best and worst out of the sophomore signal-caller against Cal. On one possession in the fourth quarter, he led Ohio State down the field, rushing for 17 yards and completing four of his five passes for 43 yards. The drive ended in a touchdown, and Miller accounted for the two-point conversion. On the ensuing possession, he threw an interception. He finished the day with a completion rate a little better than 50 percent, but the Buckeyes got the win and they'll move on to the next one.
What we learned about Cal: The Bears can stay with top teams in the country when they have a balanced attack on offense. Against the Buckeyes, they put 224 yards on the ground and 288 in the air. Because of that, Ohio State had to play them honestly, and Cal kept it close until the end (though, normally, playing catch up). In an earlier loss to Nevada, Cal rushed for a little more than 100 yards and relied too much on the air attack. The Bears are best when they’re multidimensional. That's the team we saw against Ohio State.
Braxton Miller, Ohio State Begin Spring Drills
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35