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.