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After today’s Big Game beatdown of Cal, Stanford remained a game back of the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-10 standings. Technically the Cardinal can still win the conference but it would require Oregon losing at home to Arizona and on the road to Oregon State in the upcoming Civil War game. While it’s certainly conceivably Oregon could lose these games, the odds are fairly slim. Nonetheless, Stanford still has plenty to play for in terms of a potential BCS bowl appearance.
Although Oregon and Stanford are running away with the Pac-10, the middle of the conference still has plenty to play for in these final weeks of the 2010 NCAA football season. Today’s games did not lock up bowl appearances for anybody in the Pac-10, but it did put several teams in position to lock up bowl appearances in the next two weeks.
Oregon State 36 – USC 7: While the USC Trojans will be sitting at home this bowl season because of their various program violations, the Oregon State Beavers are battling for their bowl lives. This rather stunning beat down of USC improved the Beavers to 5-5. While they do have two games remaining, they unfortunately are at Stanford next week and at home against Oregon in the Civil War. It’s safe to say the odds are long that Oregon State ends up in a bowl game.
Washington 24 – UCLA 7: The Huskies entered the game 3-6 while the Bruins were 4-5. After this Huskies win, Washington finds themselves needing two wins at Cal and at Washington State to pull out their first bowl appearance since 2002. The Bruins are 4-6 and will need to win out at Arizona State and at USC to secure their second straight bowl appearance.
Stanford 48 – California 14: We’ve already discussed Stanford’s bowl opportunities. However, Cal still has a shot at a bowl even if they finish 6-6. They face Washington next week in a game that will eliminate one of the two teams from postseason play.
The Stanford Cardinal dominated the California Golden Bears in almost all facets of the 113th Big Game en route to a 48-14 victory that was not nearly as close as even that score would indicate. It’s hard to call a win over a 5-5 team a statement victory, but I think one could make an argument that this was an impressive enough performance that it could move the dial in the BCS standings. Stanford is looking to score an at large berth in a BCS bowl game and wins like this only help.
The reason this win was so impressive was the way Stanford’s offense man-handled a Cal defense that put together as impressive a performance as I’ve seen this year against the Oregon Ducks last week. Following that strong performance, Cal was hardly competitive with the Stanford offense and particularly with QB Andrew Luck.
While Luck probably won’t win the Heisman Trophy this year, he certainly keeps his name in the discussion. Luck was 16 for 21 for 235 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 72 yards. His passing numbers don’t overwhelm you but he made some big plays against what was a porous Cal defense. He also managed a highlight run that saw him scramble 58 yards and throw off a Cal defender trying to take him down.
The two biggest Cal highlights came on some trickeration by the offense. Early in the fourth quarter they ran a wildcat play with freshman Keenan Allen that was as good a play as you’ll see. Allen had to scramble away from multiple defenders before throwing a perfect pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones for the score. Cal added a second touchdown as the game was coming to a close on a hook and lateral play involving Allen again. QB Brock Mansion threw a pass to Allen who then lateraled it to Isi Sofele who ran 15 yards and dove for the left end zone pylon and scored. On an otherwise ugly day for Cal, those two plays were incredibly entertaining.
Stanford will wrap up their 2010 regular season next week hosting the Oregon State Beavers. Stanford is fighting for an at large berth in a BCS bowl and so they don’t have any control over their selection. They just need to keep winning and putting up some big crooked numbers.
Cal wraps up their 2010 regular hosting the Washington Huskies. Cal is 5-6 and has to win that game if they want to go to a bowl game. Washington is 4-6 and has to beat Cal and then Washington State if they want to get into a bowl game. It might not be competition for a BCS bowl but the intensity should be ratcheted up for this one.
In what should not be a surprise, the California Golden Bears finally got on board once Brock Mansion was not taking the snap. Cal True freshman Keenan Allen took the snap out of the wildcat formation and after evading three Stanford defenders, Allen fired a touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones. The game is well out of hand, but the fans finally got something to enjoy as Cal now trails 45-7.
Brock Mansion initially lined up under center but then split out wide left and Allen took the snap. Allen ran to his right and then was looking to pass when the Cardinal began to converge on him. Allen cut back to his left when another defender nearly grabbed him. He then stepped up looking to run with it before firing his pass to a wide open Marvin Jones.
The highlight reel play is the first of the game for the Bears and it was certainly a good one. Maybe Cal should run the wildcat a bit more frequently as it was more effective than Mansion’s been all day.
The Stanford Cardinal are putting one heck of a cherry on top of the 2010 Big Game as they are destroying Cal 45-0 with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter. They’ve received a strong combination of passing and rushing to dominate the game from the start.
Stanford opened the second half with Stepfan Taylor rushing for his third touchdown of the game. Andrew Luck was 4-for-5 for 58 yards on the drive setting up a short plunge by Taylor. Cal went three and out on their next drive as Brock Mansion continued his ineffective play. Stanford’s offense came back out and showcased their rushing attack on the next drive. After a pair of Stepfan Taylor four yard rushes, Anthony Wilkerson took over and eventually found the end zone on a four yard rush of his own.
Stanford broke their own Big Game record of 42 points and will look to surpass Cal’s record of 48 points in any Big Game. With over a quarter to play and Cal’s defense unable to stop Stanford at this point, the Cardinal should be able to get the record and likely surpass 50 points today.
The Stanford Cardinal offense is making plays every way imaginable as they have now taken a 24-0 lead with two minutes remaining in the first half. Stanford started this last drive at their own 10 yard line and proceeded to march 90 yards on nine plays, highlighted by a highlight reel catch by Doug Baldwin. Luck fired up a pass and Baldwin came down with it 47 yards later with Cal defenders dropped on him. All in all, a beautiful pass and catch.
As I was typing this, Stanford picked off Brock Mansion again and marched down to take a 31-0 lead. At this point, Stanford is really looking to earn some bonus points for a blowout win. Cal isn’t particularly good this year, but after Cal’s strong defensive effort against the dynamic Oregon Ducks offense, a Stanford blowout would have a little more value. Throw in the fact that it’s a huge rivalry game and this is probably still a quality win for Stanford.
I suppose it’s hard to ever call a game midway through the second quarter, but the Stanford Cardinal are imposing their will on the California Golden Bears, having now taken a 17-0 lead with 10:44 left in the second quarter. Where the previous drive showcased Andrew Luck’s legs, this last drive showcased his arm as he guided the Cardinal down the field with surgical precision. Luck was 3-for-4 for 53 yards in a drive capped by Stepfan Taylor’s second rushing touchdown of the day.
While Andrew Luck is putting together great numbers this year, he’s had some up and down games at times. This is not one of them as Luck is looking like the guy projected to go early in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. On the other side, Cal QB Brock Mansion continues to struggle. He’s completed some passes but when he misses, he seems to miss pretty big. Cal will likely need some defensive scores if they want to get back in this game.
It’s only 10-0 and it’s only the first quarter, but Stanford is looking to handle their business against Cal early. Cal has won seven of the last eight Big Games but might be giving up the axe if they don’t figure out some sort of offense. After scoring a field goal following a fumble, Stanford picked off a Brock Mansion pass on their own 5 yard line and then marched down the field for a touchdown.
The biggest play of the Stanford scoring drive was a 58 yard scramble by QB Andrew Luck. The play came on 2nd and 11 on the Stanford 21 as Luck moved up in the pocket and eventually took off when he could find no receivers. He took a couple hits but showed his physical power in continuing to rumble down the field. The Cardinal then benefited from a pass interference call and wrapped up the touchdown with a Stepfan Taylor 4-yard rush.
Cal had a nice little drive going prior to that as they had moved 41 yards primarily on rushes. Mansion completed two passes on the drive before the poor pass deep in Stanford territory. The Bears offense needs to step up if they want to make the Big Game a bit more competitive.
The Stanford Cardinal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter after California Golden Bears QB Brock Mansion fumbled his second snap in three tries. Stanford took over at the Cal 26 but the Cal defense stepped up in a big way. After a 15 yard pass interference call put Stanford on the 11, the Cardinal were unable to move any further and settled for a field goal.
Last week’s Cal-Oregon game showed how tough the Bears defense can be, and they’ll need to be tough if they’re going to have a chance at upsetting the Cardinal. The Cal offense is rather one dimensional as QB Brock Mansion has struggled since replacing Kevin Riley. The team will be relying heavily on running back Shane Vereen.
The game off to a somewhat expected chippy start as the two teams had a bit of a stare down at midfield before the game. There was some smack talk and then Stanford wide receiver Rashad Patterson punched a Cal player’s helmet and was immediately ejected from the game.
CalBear81 of the California Golden Blogs did some impressive research and published an incredible post of huge Big Game performances when Cal was the decided underdogs. She found a trend of Cal teams upsetting superior Stanford squads and discovered ten Cal upsets where the Bears could beat the Furd.
The 1982 Play game is on this list, but it’s only ranked #10.
Although Cal was only a 6 point underdog, The Play turned the 1982 into one of the great upsets of all time. The Best Damn Sports Show Period selected it has the Greatest Football play of All Time. And in December 2003, an online vote sponsored by Pontiac chose The Play as NCAA Football’s most memorable moment of all-time. But the last word on the 1982 Big Game really ought to go to Stanford’s quarterback, John Elway:They ruined my last game as a college player. It was a very bittersweet ending. I did not want it to end this way. It’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life.
You’re now probably wondering, what on Earth was #1? Click here to find out. Last year’s 2009 Big Game registered 7th.
Not to be outdone, Rule of Tree issued its own post of biggest Big Game victories. The last one came in 1999, when the Cardinal clinched their last Rose Bowl berth.
Stanford clinched its first Rose Bowl berth since 1972 with a convincing win at home. Casey Moore ran for two touchdowns, including a 94-yard dash in the fourth quarter, and the Cardinal limited Cal to 130 yards of total offense and three first downs through three quarters. Deltha O’Neal’s two return touchdowns helped save Cal some face.
The Stanford Cardinal travel up the road to Berkeley to face the California Golden Bears in The 113th Big Game. Stanford is rolling this season and will look to continue their march towards a possible BCS bowl berth. California has had a very up and down season and is coming off a strong performance against the No. 1 Oregon Ducks that ultimately came up short.
The line has opened for this weekend’s matchup and Stanford is currently a 6 1/2 to 7 point favorite against Cal. It’s not shocking given the disparities in their respective seasons. However, rivalry games are a different beast altogether. Last season, Cal was a 7 1/2 point underdog and yet they pulled a huge road upset, defeating Stanford 34-28.
Cal was a little bit better last year than they are this year as they sit at 5-5. However, as the Bears showed last week against Oregon, their defense is incredibly tough at home. No team has contained the Oregon offense like Cal did last week and that’s something for them to build on. Furthermore, given the nature of the rivalry, if the Bears lost every game during the season but managed to beat Stanford the season wouldn’t be a total lost.
Of course, the Bears offense remains incredibly inept outside of Shane Vereen. Their defense might contain Andrew Luck and the Stanford offense, but that won’t matter if Cal can’t get any points of their own on the board.
Last year, a highly touted Stanford Cardinal team was hovering on the edge of a Rose Bowl berth and coming off of two impressive victories of the two powers in the Pac-10, upsetting the soon-to-be Pasadena-bound Oregon Ducks and steamrolling the USC Trojans in Los Angeles. The Cardinal seemed to be the overwhelming favorites in their matchup with their Bay Area rivals, riding their Heisman candidate Toby Gerhart and up-and-coming quarterback in Andrew Luck to take over as the Bay Area's best.
But Cal turned the tables on them, as both Shane Vereen and Kevin Riley outperformed their counterparts. Vereen rushed for 193 yards on 42 carries and three touchdowns, and Riley threw 17 of 31 for 235 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception, as Cal controlled the football and kept the Cardinal from touching the ball for vast stretches of the game, converting 11 of 19 third downs. While Gerhart had a solid 136 yards on 20 carries, four touchdowns and a beastly 29 yard catch, almost half of those yards came on his opening score and he was held in check for most of the game after Stanford went up 14-0. The Cardinal defense proceeded to give up 31 of the next 38 points and Luck could never get going, completing only 10 of 30 passes and 157 yards. Most damningly, Luck got the Cardinal to the red zone down six with under two minutes left, but threw the game-clinching interception to Mike Mohamed. The loss ended the Cardinal's faint Rose Bowl chances, and the Axe went back to Berkeley.
Now, the Big Game shifts back to Strawberry Canyon, and things seem to look even tougher for Cal to score the upset. Despite the loss of Gerhart, the Cardinal have not let up, starting their season 9-1 behind their Heisman-contending quarterback and an offensive line that is mighty difficult to shed blocks against. Other than struggles with Arizona St. last week and getting blown out by Oregon in Autzen after letting a 21-3 lead, Stanford's offense has been fairly unstoppable, racking up 466 total yards a game (14th in the nation), 24.9 first downs (tied for 10th in the nation) and 39.8 points per game (9th in the nation).
The Cal defense was great last week in holding down Oregon, but can they do it two weeks in a row? The special teams appears to have regressed back to last year's horrible form and the offense could not get anything going after the opening drive behind new starting quarterback Brock Mansion, forcing Vereen to keep the offense moving. The Cardinal defense has greatly improved from last season and has proven they can grind with almost anyone. It could come down to the home-field advantage for Cal; the Golden Bears are 4-1 at home and have seen offenses (no matter how diverse or impressive) grind to a halt in Memorial.
What will happen this week? Anything goes in the Big Game.
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