Stanford beats Notre Dame 28-14, finishes regular season 11-1


Stanford beats Notre Dame 28-14, finishes regular season 11-1


STANFORD (AP) -- Andrew Luckwalked back into the overcrowded home locker room at Stanford Stadium,greeted by hugs and handshakes and serenaded with a chant that suitedhim just perfectly."Macho, Macho man!" teammates bellowed, singing the lyrics to the Village People's famous song. "I want to be a Macho man!"Only one has earned that title on The Farm.Luck set the school record for themost career touchdown passes and eclipsed his own single-season mark,throwing for 233 yards and four scores to lead fourth-ranked Stanfordpast No. 22 Notre Dame 28-14 in his home finale Saturday night.Luck topped John Elway's record of 77touchdown passes and helped the Cardinal (11-1) build a 21-0 halftimelead. He has thrown for 80 touchdowns in three years - while it tookElway all four - and 35 this season."There's no player in America like Andrew Luck," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "Forget about the stats. Forget about the comparisons of other guys. It doesn't matter."Luck of the Irish? Forget it.Luck is on Stanford's side.The victory likely vaulted theCardinal into consideration for an at-large BCS bowl bid for the secondstraight year - with the Fiesta Bowl among the leading possibledestinations - but they will not play for a major championship thisseason. The lone loss to Oregon put the Ducks in the Pac-12 title gameout of the North Division and crushed Stanford's dreams of a nationaltitle."I think one loss, that's great,"said Luck, who turned down a chance to be the NFL draft's top pick thisyear. "We've been on a 23-2 run for a while, I think it's prettyimpressive. We put ourselves in position to be in a good bowl game, andthat's what we wanted to do."Notre Dame's stumbled at the finish line again.Tommy Rees threw an interception, lost a fumble and took a bruising blow to the ribs for Notre Dame (8-4) before getting benched. Andrew Hendrix threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in a second-half rally for the Fighting Irish that came up short.Keeping Stanford close gave the Irish little satisfaction."We didn't come here for secondprize," said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who would not name astarting quarterback for the bowl game. "We got off to a slow start andbattled against it. To me, the scoreboard showed 28-14 and that's notgood enough. The slow start put us in a tough position."Stanford coach David Shaw shined thespotlight on his program and his quarterback's Heisman Trophy campaignwith a calculated rip of the "flawed" BCS system this week. TheCardinal's play matched his words for 30 minutes.A sloppy second half almost took everything else Stanford had worked for this season.Kelly benched Rees in favor ofHendrix to start the third quarter, and the move pumped some life intoa stagnant Irish offense. Notre Dame took advantage of passinterference and roughing the passer penalties for its first score.Hendrix threw a 6-yard TD to Michael Floydto slice Stanford's lead to 21-7 halfway through the third quarter.Floyd finished with 95 catches on the year, breaking the single-seasonmark of 93 set by Golden Tate in 2009.The Irish were driving for another score when Hendrix overthrew a receiver, the ball was tipped and intercepted by Michael Thomas. When Notre Dame regained possession, Hendrix was sacked by A.J. Tarpley for a 13-yard loss that sent another drive tumbling."Consistency is the one thing I have struggled with the most," said Hendrix, who completed 11 of 24 passes.Only room for one quarterback to steal the show.Luck quickly connected with Coby Fleenerfor a 55-yard TD pass to extend Stanford's lead to 28-7 with 5:40remaining to put the game out of reach. Fleener also caught a 28-yardTD in the first half that gave Luck every major school touchdownrecord.Stanford's Senior Day belonged to the redshirt junior.Luck lobbed a fade to the short corner of the end zone to complete a 3-yard score to Levine Toilolo,giving Stanford a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Even he had to holdback a smile running to the sideline to a swarm of well-wishes fromteammates for the records-tying toss.But Luck lost his rhythm when a back-side blitzer closed the pocket, and he tossed a short pass that Darius Flemingintercepted and returned 35 yards. Notre Dame took over at the Stanford10 after a 15-yard penalty on Fleener for a horse collar.Stanford stifled the Irish on consecutive plays and forced a 20-yard field goal that David Ruffer missed wide right.Luck followed with a 28-yard TD pass to Fleener. The tight end dragged cornerback Robert Blanton the final 10 yards into the end zone, sealing Luck's marks in the school record book."I think it's something I'll be ableto tell my kids and grandkids when I'm watching Andrew on TV someday,"Fleener said. "He's got my Heisman vote."

Cal's Dykes calls out Pac-12 schedule makers after loss to USC


Cal's Dykes calls out Pac-12 schedule makers after loss to USC

The Pac-12 schedule makers started the final nail in Cal’s Week 9 coffin. USC’s offense proceeded to drive it all the home.

Behind a career night for both Ronald Jones and Sam Darnold, the Trojans jumped out to a 28-10 halftime and ultimately cruised to a 45-24 win. Both Jones and Darnold set career highs on the night, the former with 223 yards rushing and the latter five touchdown passes.

Those two players were part of an offense that rolled up a season-high 629 yards of offense.  It was the schedule, though, that saw a significant amount of the focus on the game, especially in the days leading up to it and the immediate aftermath.

Cal’s last game was Friday, Oct. 21.  USC’s last game?  Oct. 15, meaning the Bears, on five days rest, were facing a team coming off a bye, and facing them on the road no less.

“It’s one of those deals where you go, ‘How in the world could this ever happen? How could somebody let this happen?'” head coach Sonny Dykes said in the middle of the week. “It has been a disaster, it’s been a mess. … It’s incredibly hard on our kids.”


“We looked like a tired, beat-up football team. I think it’s a travesty whoever scheduled this game. I hope the Pac-12 doesn’t do that again to any other school. It’s not right for the kids.

“Everybody talks about student-athlete welfare, but they need to put their money where their mouth is.”


Efforts of Darnold, Jones lead USC over Cal


Efforts of Darnold, Jones lead USC over Cal


LOS ANGELES -- Sam Darnold threw five touchdowns passes, Ronald Jones rushed for a career-high 223 yards and Southern California downed California 45-24 on Thursday night.

Darnold threw for 231 yards, with Darreus Rogers making six catches for a career-high 97 yards, as the Trojans rolled up a season-high 629 yards of total offense. Aca'Cedric Ware contributed a career-high 130 yards rushing to USC's total of 398.

USC (5-3, 4-2 Pac-12) scored on three of its first four possessions, with Darnold finding Rogers, Jones and Deontay Burnettfor touchdowns. Rogers added a second touchdown catch with 28 seconds left, but two fumbles by Darnold allowed Cal (4-4, 2-3) to maintain a modicum of hope despite allowing 451 yards on 46 plays in the first half.

Webb threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns, throwing a ball up for grabs that was intercepted by safety Marvell Tell in the first quarter. Webb also rushed for a touchdown in the third quarter that cut USC's lead to 28-17 before Jones had a 37-yard touchdown run and Daniel Imatorbhebhe caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Darnold.

Jones had 149 yards on eight first-half carries, as the sophomore broke out of a funk with starter Justin Davis (ankle) not in uniform.


Cal: The Bears have now lost 13 in a row to the Trojans since handing Pete Carroll's 2003 national championship team its only loss in triple overtime that season. Cal was always going to have trouble defending Darnold and USC's plethora of skill players, and that task was even tougher with a short week to prepare and mounting injuries. But with three home games left, Cal has a good chance at becoming bowl eligible if it can maintain its strong play in Strawberry Canyon.

USC: The Trojans are white-hot, with Darnold leading the way. The freshman quarterback has now thrown 16 touchdown passes in leading USC to four consecutive wins, playing with a fearlessness and fire that the team was missing at the start of the season, though his ball security must improve. The Trojans are more than capable of turning the conference race upside down when they travel to No. 4 Washington on Nov. 12.


Cal: The Bears host the Huskies on Nov. 5, a potential trap game for Washington.

USC: The Trojans host faltering Oregon on Nov. 5, seeking their first five-game winning streak since 2013.