The Big game could have been renamed the Andrew Luck show as Luck routinely passed to the left, to the right, downfield on post-routes, to running backs on screens, and then when receivers were covered, ran to daylight where the terrain was wide open, and handed off to running backs from an array of formations.
With John Elway looking on from the sidelines in street clothes, Andrew Luck was doing his best Elway imitation on the field.
Illustrating the emotion that is involved in The Big Game, the teams had issues even before the captains met with referees to start the game.
Prior to the coin flip, as emotions boiled over early, both teams were woofing it up at mid-field, Cardinal sophomore WR Jamal-Rashad Patterson threw a punch at one of the Cal Bears and was promptly ejected by the referees.
Coach Jim Harbaugh, none-too-thrilled by the antics or actions of his player, let him know of his displeasure without mincing words as Patterson was relegated to the locker room to watch the impending onslaught. Knowing how Harbaugh coaches, he’ll probably use that as a teachable moment too.
That was the last stupid move the Cardinal committed all day.
Doug Baldwin made some spectacular catches between defenders, using hands as if they were magnets. Baldwin had 5 receptions for 96 yards, the longest being a second quarter, 47 yard grab that would set up another touchdown, giving the Cardinal a 24-0 lead.
Then adding insult to injury, Zach Ertz caught the first pass of the second half for a 34 yard gain. Four passes and one run later, the Cardinal were in the end zone again on a four yard run by Stepfan Taylor, making the rout official at 38-0.
Freshman RB, Anthony Wilkerson saw his first Big Game action with 71 yardson 16 carries. Stepfan Taylor, not to be left out of the stats, provided the ground option for most of the day racking up 64 yards with three touchdowns.
The well-balanced Cardinal play-calling kept the Cal defense at bay all day.
Stanford used no-huddle and quick snaps. They shifted formations. Luck threw the ball in-the-pocket and on the run. Stanford utilized the wildcat-look with back-up senior quarterback Alex Loukas to maintain the unpredictability.
Stanford made it look easy.
The Stanford offense would score on every possession except one, not having to punt until 3:38 of the fourth quarter.
Jim Harbaugh and Stanford looked like they were rewriting The Book on how to play the Big Game.
Defensively, Stanford was equally impressive. They allowed the Cal Bears only 305 yards total offense; 134 rushing, and 171 yards passing. Two first half interceptions took the wind out of the Bears’ sails.
Cal quarterback, Brock Mansion was the polar opposite of Andrew Luck, with two interceptions in the first half, and fumbling two of the first three snaps he got under center to receive.
A harbinger of things to come, Cal’s offense would sputter on most every possession, save for a few intermediate-length runs in the third quarter and on a wildcat formation that broke down to provide Cal their first score at 14:27 of the fourth quarter. Cal would score again with :15 to go in the game to ruin the complete Cal ineptness that they displayed the entire afternoon.
It is the most points scored by Stanford in a Big Game history, and the sixth time they have scored more than 40 points.
It was the first time the Stanford Cardinal won in Berkeley in 10 years, and the first Axe for Andrew Luck. Stanford is now 10-1, (9-1 PAC-10)