COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Not even Archie Griffin did this much this fast for Ohio State.
Maurice Clarett burst on the college football scene by rushing for 175 yards and three touchdowns as the 12th-ranked Buckeyes routed Texas Tech, 45-21, in the Pigskin Classic.
An 18-year-old who was named USA Today national high school Offensive Player of the Year in 2001, Clarett became the first true freshman in Ohio State history to start at tailback in the season opener.
A series of injuries gave Clarett the opportunity and he made the most of it, exploding around right end for a 59-yard TD run with 5:10 left in the first quarter to extend the Buckeyes' lead to 14-0.
Clarett, who carried 21 times, scored on a 45-yard run with 13:08 left in the third quarter and went in from one yard late in the period to increase the margin to 38-7. He reached the 100-yard mark on his 12th carry of the day.
Watching on the sidelines was Griffin, a two-time Heisman Trophy winner who serves as associate athletic director for the Buckeyes. Griffin did not make it into the starting lineup until his second game as a freshman, when he ran for a school-record 239 yards. Griffin moved into the starting lineup the following week.
"It really doesn't surprise me," Griffin said of Clarett. "He's showing what he's all about."
Kliff Kingsbury threw three touchdown passes for Texas Tech, but two came in the fourth quarter, when the game already was decided. Kingsbury completed 26-of-44 passes for 341 yards, including TD strikes of 34 and 36 yards to Wes Welker in the final period to make the score respectable.
Kingsbury faced pressure all afternoon and defensive end Will Smith led a unit that allowed Texas Tech to gain just 31 rushing yards on 20 carries.
"We never got in sync offensively and it hurt us," Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said. "They just played well. Clarett is a very good player."
Clarett, named "Mr. Football" last year at Harding High School in Warren, Ohio, carried four times for 10 yards on a drive that ended with a two-yard TD run by Lydell Ross less than four minutes into the game.
The Buckeyes increased their lead to 14-0 on Clarett's first score before Kingsbury found Carlos Francis on a 39-yard TD pass on 4th-and-2 to cut the lead to 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Ross, who carried 16 times for 44 yards, scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter to give the Buckeyes a 21-7 halftime lead. Texas Tech had a chance to cut into the lead just before intermission, but halfback Foy Munlin was stopped short on a 4th-and-goal play.
"That fourth-down play really hurt us," Kingsbury said. "We have to be able to get that. Things really started to snowball from there."
Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel played an efficient game, completing 11-of-14 passes for 118 yards.
"I thought Craig did good decision-making when throwing the ball," said Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who was not satisfied with his team's effort. "We're probably going to need a better job throwing the ball than we did today."
Backup quarterback Scott McMullen scored on a one-yard run with 2:24 left to increase the lead to 45-15.
Welker caught five passes for 117 yards. Ohio State won its home opener for the 24th straight season before a crowd of 100,037, which broke a string of 31 straight sellouts at Ohio Stadium.