COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two years after suffering a major knee injury on the eve of his senior high school season, Cal sophomore Brendan Bigelow still isn't sure he has all his speed back.
"I'm kind of close," he said.
Cal's third-string tailback, Bigelow blew up with second-half touchdown runs of 81 and 59 yards, totaling 160 yards on just four carries in the Bears' 35-28 loss to the No. 12 Buckeyes.
Bigelow's 81-yard dash was the third-longest run ever against Ohio State. No visiting back has ever ripped off such a long run against the Buckeyes on their home turf.
"Brendan has some amazing speed," senior tailback Isi Sofele said.
The Bears trailed 20-7 at halftime and Cal had zero rushing yards in the second quarter.
Bigelow had no inkling he would awake the Cal running game.
"There was no game plan," he said, when asked if he knew he'd play a role against the Buckeyes after carrying the ball just twice in two previous games. "I felt ready. It's up to the coaches."
Coach Jeff Tedford put Bigelow into the game on the second offensive series of the third quarter, and the Fresno native delivered.
He took the ball on a sweep to the left and spun past linebacker Orhian Johnson. He did another pirouette to elude linebacker Ryan Shazier, avoided going to the ground and suddenly saw open field.
"I was thinking to myself, 'Stay on your feet, stay on your feet, keep moving,' " Bigelow said. "My eyes get big. I
"That was a great run," said Tedford.
Bigelow carried the ball from scrimmage just six times last season while still coming back from ACL surgery that wiped out his senior season at Central East High.
A sprinter with 10.62-second speed for the 100 meters, he did have one big moment as a freshman last season -- an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Presbyterian.
But this was Ohio State -- winner of seven national titles.
Asked he if expects his performance to earn him more opportunities, Bigelow said, "Most likely. I think so."