Cal did not come close to winning but it avoid some historical embarrassment by scoring with 15 seconds left. Stanford’s 48-14 victory over Cal on Saturday in Berkeley fell seven points shy of tying the largest margin of victory in Big Game history. The Cardinal’s 48 points did tie the Big Game record for most points scored by one team, however.
In the 113th Big Gamne, Stanford fell just short of matching the Cardinal’s 41-0 victory in 1930 for the most lopsided Big Game win. Cal made sure of that when Isi Sofele scored on a 15-yard play that involved a completion and a lateral on a fourth-down play. That closed the margin from 41 points to 34 with 15 seconds to go.
Stanford still tied the Cal team that scored 48 points in a 48-15 victory over Stanford in 1975.
Cal helped Stanford in the opening minutes of the Big Game with a series of mistakes, and the No. 7-ranked Cardinal doesn’t need much help. The Cardinal scored on its first eight possession, and led 31-0 at halftime.
Cal avoided sole owenership of the most lopsided loss in Big Game history when Keenan Allen threw the best pass of the day by a Cal playing, scrambling around until he found Marvin Jones in the end zone for 17-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it 45-7.
Andrew Luck finished 16-for-20 for 235 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Cal’s Brock Mansion was 19-for-37 for 173 yards and two interceptions, plus that TD pass in the closing seconds. Luck was also Stanford’s leading rusher with 72 yards, including a 58-yard scramble in the first quarter that was the play of the game. Shane Vereen had 63 yards for Cal.
It was Jeff Tedford’s second loss in his nine games against Stanford as Cal’s coach, and now the Golden Bears (5-6) must win their final game next week at home against Washington to get a bowl berth for the eighth straight season.
Stanford (10-1), meanwhile, is still hoping for a Rose Bowl berth with one game left against Oregon State, but the Cardinal needs a little help from teams elsewhere in the country to get to Pasadena this season.
The Bears were hoping they could match their defensive effort of last week’s 15-13 loss to Oregon, and parlay the success they’ve had at home this season, having won four of five games at Memorial Staium before Saturday. But Cal made too many early mistakes to stay in the game. And with Brock Mansion making just his third collegiate start, the Bears did not have the firepower to come back against Stanford.
Stanford led Cal 31-0 at halftime of the Big Game at Cal on Saturday. However, Cal turnovers and penalties early in the game provided the impetus for the Cardinal’s large halftime margin.
Andrew Luck finished the half 10 for 12 for 165 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for 69 yards, including one key 58-yard run.
Cal’s Brock Mansion was 8-for-16 for 57 yards, but threw two interceptions.
Cal quarterback Brock Mansion fumbled two of the first two snaps of the game, and the second was recovered by Stanford at the Cal 29-yard line.
Aided by a 15-yard pass interference call on Cal cornerback Steve Williams, the Cardinal scored first on Nate Whitaker’s 29-yard field goal.
The Bears moved to the Stanford 25-yard on their next possession, but on third down Mansion underthrew a pass that resulted in a Richard Sherman interception.
Cal seemed to end that Stanford possession when Luck threw an incompletion on third-and-four from the Stanford 16. But Cal was called for offsides on the play, giving Stanford a first down.
Then, on third-and-five from the Cardinal 21, Luck scrambled up the middle and sprinted 58 yards to the Cal 21-yard line. Another pass interference call, this one on Bryant Nabuife, moved the ball to the 3-yard. Stepfan Taylor scored from there to make it 10-0 Stanford with 3:46 left in the first quarter.
There was nothing lucky about Stanford’s third score, though. The Cardinal marched 86 yards in nine plays, with a 27-yard pass from Luck to Griff Whalen being the big play on the possession. Taylor carried one yard for the score that made it 17-0 at 10:44 of the second quarter.
Stanford went 90 yards on its next possession, with the key play being a 47-yard pass to Doug Baldwin, who was doubled team but outfought both defenders for the ball. A 13-yard pass from Luck to Zach Ertz concluded the drive and made it 24-0 with 2:47 left in the half.
A Michael Thomas interception at the Stanford 39-yard line with less than two minutes left set up the Cardinal’s final score of the half. Luck threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Baldwin with 22 seconds left to make it 31-0.
If there was any doubt, Stanford marched 74 yards after receiving the second-half kickoff for a touchdown that made the score 38-0.
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