1. Ty F****** Montgomery
Montgomery scored five of Stanford's six first-half touchdowns on seven touches. He was regularly wide open down field, not accounted for in the reverse and wasn't jammed or molested off the line of scrimmage at all. Beyond that, he was covered by no fewer than three different defensive backs, instead of being consistently shadowed by Kameron Jackson, much like Paul Richardson was last week at Colorado.
Beyond that, when Jackson was on Montgomery, he played 10-15 yards off, giving the speedy receiver plenty of room to perform double moves (he didn't have to do that much, at all) or just get an angle of the sophomore cornerback.
When the Bears did mark Montgomery, Kevin Hogan simply found someone else, completing three passes for 92 yards in the first half alone to Michael Rector, including a pass deep down the middle for a 45-yard scoring strike against a woefully overmatched Cedric Dozier.
"When a team drops the safeties down into the box and leaves Ty Montgomery and Michael Rector one-on-one, we're going to take our shots," said Cardinal head coach David Shaw. "Last week, some of them panned out, some of them didn't. This week most of them panned out. That is just built into our game plan. Safeties drop down in the box, we have to take advantage – that's what happened at Washington State, as well. When we can do that, we make ourselves a very balanced football team."
Montgomery set a Cardinal record with five total touchdowns, including a 31-yard touchdown scamper on a reverse to the short side of the field off of a fake handoff to Tyler Gaffney.
After the first series of the second half, Montgomery was nowhere to be found. He didn't have to be. Stanford went on to score a season-high 63 points – the most either team has ever scored in the Big Game – leading to the largest margin of victory ever in the annual contest.
After going helmet-to-helmet with freshman quarterback Jared Goff earlier in the first quarter (a hit that was not called, despite it being led with the crown of the helmet), Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov crushed Goff as he followed through after hitting Richard Rodgers for a 62-yard pass with 7:06 left in the first half, sending Goff to the turf, where he lay for several minutes, clutching his right arm. Goff was taken off the field, and came back in the second half wearing a jacket and a headset. He would not return, with a separated shoulder
"It happened on a couple of hits," Goff said. "I think the second one just kind of aggravated it a little bit. I think it was mainly the first one … It was one where I scrambled out a little bit, we had a holding call, and I threw it and got hit. I don't remember exactly when."
Goff's only other injury he's had as a football player was a broken leg in Pop Warner.
"I just briefly talked to the doctors when I was in there, and I have no idea what they want to go for," Goff said.
After the initial hit, Goff was asked by the training staff if he needed to be taken out.
"I told them I wanted to play, so I went back in," Goff said.
Goff went 4-of-4 for 50 yards on the first drive, which tied the game at 7-7 with some nifty – and deceptive – play calling, but after that, went just 6-of-15 for 144 yards.
Redshirt freshman Zach Kline entered and went 8-for-14 for 115 yards, but as the second half dawned, Kline was sacked twice on his first two series, and after a 38-yard completion to Bryce Treggs over the middle (the longest reception of his career), he promptly threw an interception.
"I thought I played […] you know […] OK," Kline said. "There were a lot of routes that I could have hit, that I should have hit. I thought I could have played a whole lot better than what I did. I didn't put any points on the board, so I didn't do my job as quarterback. I'm disappointed how I played. I'm disappointed how the team played this whole season. Everybody is. The upside is there's just a lot of room to get better. There's nowhere to go but up from here. It's going to be a good offseason ‘cause we know what it feels like to be the worst. Hopefully, we're going to know what it feels like to be the best soon."
The Cardinal defense did not allow a score after a 47-yard field goal by Vince D'Amato with 5:48 to go in the second quarter.
Goff set records for the most passing yards in a single season by a Cal quarterback and the most yards of total offense in a season, but that didn't mean much by the end of the day.
"I mean, in 20 years it might be cool to look back on, but right now, not really," he said. "I'm pretty upset the way our season went, so I'm not concerned about that right now."
3. And then Stanford did what it does so well …
While the Bears weren't playing two deep to stop Montgomery or the Stanford passing game, they were pretty stout at stopping the run … until they weren't.
On The Cardinal's second series of the second half, Gaffney – who'd been pretty well bottled up before the break, carrying the ball 12 times for 28 yards – broke free out of the wildcat for a 58-yard touchdown as the Cardinal went up, 49-13.
"We had an unblocked linebacker in the hole," head coach
Apart from that that 58-yard run, Gaffney had 15 carries for 37 yards, and the rest of the Cardinal offense had 19 for 128.
4. Bye, Bye, Bye?
Could Kline be as good as gone? With the staff's full faith behind Goff this season, and Dykes saying of Kline's performance that he "didn't think it was very good," in all likelihood, the No. 2 quarterback in the 2012 class may be headed elsewhere.
When asked if he intends to stay at Cal, Kline said, "Yeah. I want to stay here. I want to do whatever I can here."
But, Kline said, "I'm going to have to make a decision that every player in my position's going to have to make. I don't know what that is."
According to a source, that decision will be to transfer, though a Cal rep said at the postgame presser that it was not a question that Kline would answer directly, at least at this point.
"I committed here for a reason," Kline said. "I committed here really early here for a reason. I love Cal. I'm a Bear, through and through. If there's an opportunity that is greater than the one here, you know, I'll have to make a decision. I don't know what that decision is yet."
Kline finishes the season 43-of-82 (52.4%) for 443 yards and three touchdowns, with four interceptions for a 100.14 QB rating, compared to Goff's 123.18 for the season (320-531-10, 3, 508, 18 TDs).
5. Third and wrong
On third-and-long (here defined as third-and-five or longer), Stanford was a staggering 7-for-11. The physical Cardinal offensive front did exactly what it's designed to do – chip away, chip away, chip away. On third down and long, the Bears gave up a total of 181 yards on 7-for-9 passing, with an additional six yards on the ground.
In obvious passing situations, where the defensive backfield should have – and likely did – know a pass was coming, they still couldn't stop it. Hogan finished the game 17-for-26 for 329 yards and five touchdowns – a 235.1 QB rating – and had career highs in touchdowns and passing yards.
6. Lost in the Shuffle
Rodgers had one of his best games of the season, catching five passes for 125 yards … Khalfani Muhammad rushed for his highest average of the season, running five times for 45 yards without a single negative carry … Muhammad finishes the year as Cal's second-leading rusher (467 yards) while carrying the ball 74 times for a season ypc of 6.0 – the highest on the team for players with at least 10 carries … While Treggs set a career-best with his 38-yard reception, that was his only catch of the day … Treggs finishes the season with the most catches on the team (77) and the second-most receiving yards (751) … Brendan Bigelow ran for 27 yards on 13 carries after his 106-yard performance against Colorado, but he did catch four balls for 33 yards … Tyler Gaffney did not run for 100 yards (99), the fifth time the Bears have held a team without a 100-yard rusher (all in the Pac-12).
EDITOR'S NOTE: BearTerritory will have a sit-down with Dykes and both coordinators on Monday, so stay tuned.