COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The case might have already been made.
Flying around the field to make tackles, arriving at just the right time to break up passes and finding ways to influence the game at safety, Christian Bryant was well on his way to perhaps the best performance of his career.
After sealing a 35-28 win over California with a fourth-quarter interception, there wasn't much left to argue about for the Ohio State junior.
"I feel like it was my best game so far," Bryant said. "Just finally getting my hands on the ball, finally see how it feels so hopefully there’s many more to come.
"I’ve still got a lot of progress to make, and I'm just going into the next week trying to get better."
There is room for improvement all over a defense that was gashed for 512 yards, but Bryant helped stop the bleeding with his meaningful plays in the secondary.
Before icing the victory with the first interception of his career, Bryant turned in two of the most pivotal defensive plays of the game in the third quarter with the Golden Bears driving just outside the red zone. On consecutive snaps, Bryant delivered huge hits to break up a couple passes and force a Cal field goal -- which was missed from 42 yards and kept Ohio State in the lead.
"I just try to make big plays, come up big for our team," Bryant said. "I know just coming back as one of the leaders of the defense this year, it’s about that time that I make big plays each and every week."
The time officially arrived against Cal, right when the Buckeyes needed him most.