Big Game Blowout -- Stanford Takes Back the Axe

November 20, 2010, 11:44 pm
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BERKELEY (AP) -- About the only fight California put up against Stanfordcame before the pregame coin toss when the Golden Bears came out on thefield en masse jawing at their rivals.Stanford's players responded, andthat bit of trash-talking ended in a standstill. After that, theseventh-ranked Cardinal turned the day into a Big Game blowout.Andrew Luck threw two touchdownpasses and led Stanford to scores on all eight possessions he played asthe Cardinal beat California 48-14 on Saturday for its most lopsidedwin in the rivalry in 80 years."Our guys really kept their cool andI think that was a big difference today," Stanford coach Jim Harbaughsaid. "They kept their poise. I don't like that kind of football whereyou try and talk and intimidate. ... Just play football. Shut up andplay football."That's what the Cardinal (10-1, 7-1Pac-10) did to win for just the second time in the past nine gamesagainst the Golden Bears (5-6, 3-5).Luck completed 16 of 20 passes for235 yards and added 72 yards on the ground. Stepfan Taylor ran forthree scores as the Cal defense, which shut down No. 1 Oregon'shigh-powered spread offense in a 15-13 loss just one week ago, had noanswers for Luck and the Cardinal's power game.Luck managed to atone a bit for lastyear's struggles against Cal, when he completed 10 of 30 passes andthrew a game-sealing interception deep in Cal territory with just overa minute left in a 34-28 loss."I definitely had some motivationcoming off last year's disappointment," Luck said. "That being said, itwas a new year and you can't really dwell on the past too much. But Idid get a little extra motivation from that experience."Twenty-eight years to the day afterStanford was stunned on this same field by The Play, Luck made sure theCardinal could not be done in by a five-lateral kickoff return throughthe band for the game-winning touchdown this time. Stanford even got apep talk from John Elway, the losing quarterback in that 1982 game.Luck led the Cardinal on touchdowndrives of 95, 86, 90 and 61 yards in the first half. He threw touchdownpasses to Zach Ertz and Doug Baldwin and bowled over safety SeanCattouse on a 58-yard run that set up Stanford's first touchdown.Luck also engineered touchdowndrives on the first two drives of the second half, then led theCardinal to a field goal in the fourth quarter as the offense neverslowed down until he left the game in the final minutes."It's hard to slow down Stanfordconsistently," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "They're the most completeteam (we've played). They obviously have the best quarterback. In myopinion, he's the best quarterback in the country. He's an accuratepasser. He doesn't make mistakes. He puts the ball right between thenumbers. He's big and strong. When he pulls it down, you can'tarm-tackle him, he has speed and athleticism."Brock Mansion fumbled the first snapfrom center, and that was an omen for how this day would go for Cal.Mansion threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and finished 19-for-37for 173 yards.Shane Vereen ran for 63 yards,giving him a career-high 1,061 for the season, and Cal got its firstscore on a 17-yard TD pass from receiver Keenan Allen to Marvin Jonesearly in the fourth quarter to make it 45-7.Cal scored on another trick play inthe closing seconds as Isi Sofele took a lateral from Allen and scoredto help the Bears avoid matching the most one-sided loss in the historyof this rivalry. Stanford beat Cal 41-0 in 1930.The Bears now need to win theirseason finale at home next week against Washington to be eligible to goto a bowl for an eighth straight season.The Cal players decided in the morning they would all come out for the opening coin toss to challenge the Cardinal."We wanted to show we wereemotional, we were here and we were ready to play this game," Cattousesaid. "We wanted to let them know we were here."The officials quickly defused thesituation by calling offsetting personal fouls and ejecting Stanfordreserve receiver Jamal-Rashad Patterson."When all that stuff happened, wekind of got anxious to get out there on the field," Baldwin said. "Itkind of hyped us up a little bit more than we expected it to."Mansion then fumbled two of the first three snaps from center, losing the second to set up a field goal by Nate Whitaker.Richard Sherman intercepted a passfrom Mansion to end Cal's second possession. Stanford capitalized witha 95-yard TD drive, capped by Taylor's 3-yard run. The drive washighlighted by Luck's 58-yard run that included the shoulder knockdownof Cattouse."It kind of snowballed from there," Vereen said. "It's kind of tough to rebound. We shot ourselves in the foot offensively."