FIRST LOOK: Stanford

STANFORD DID SOMETHING Saturday that no other team had been able to do this season -- beat Cal decisively on the Bears' home field. The Cardinal's 48-14 victory over the Bears kept alive the Cardinal's hopes for a Rose Bowl berth, although Stanford needs Auburn to lose a game for that to happen. And then there's the matter of Oregon State coming to town this Saturday.

The Beavers' 36-7 victory over USC on Saturday suggests Oregon State may not provide the easy prey it appeared to be when the Beavers lost to Washington State the previous week. The game will be broadcast live on VERSUS with kickoff scheduled for 4:30 PM.

A win over Oregon State would give No. 7 Stanford an 11-1 record, which would be the Cardinal's best regular-season record since it went undefeated in 1940.

Andrew Luck had one of the best games of his career last week, and that's saying something because he has had some good ones. He completed 16 of 20 passes (including one incompletion that was intentionally thrown away) for 235 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. And he directed Stanford to scores on the Cardinal's first eight possessions, with all but the first score being a touchdown.

Luck also produced the biggest play of the game when he scrambled 58 yards on a third-down play in the first quarter, bowling over Cal safety Sean Cattouse along the way. That got Stanford out from deep in its territory and led to the Cardinal's first touchdown.

No team has dominated Cal on the Bears' home field the way Stanford did. Cal had been 4-1 at home entering the game, with all four wins being blowouts, and the lone loss a 15-13 defeat to No. 1 Oregon. The difference in that game was a successful two-point conversion by the Ducks and an unsuccessful two-point conversion by the Bears.

The Cal defense held the powerful Ducks offense to just one touchdown, and Cal had yielded just 27 points while its defense was on the field in the previous five home games. Against Stanford, Cal's defense yielded all 48 of the Cardinal's points.

NOTES, QUOTES
--A confrontation occurred at midfield during the coin toss. Cal's entire team came to the center of the field just before the coin toss, and the Stanford players responded by coming to the center of the field, too. A lot of words were exchanged, and officials had their hands full trying to separate the teams. Ultimately Stanford's Jamal-Rashad Patterson got ejected for a personal foul.

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh maintained that Cal had initiated the confrontation.

"I thought the Cal team was talking a lot of trash before the game," Harbaugh said. "Our guys kept their cool. ... I don't like that kind of football where you try and talk and intimidate. It's not real. You play with your feet, your legs, you play with your hands. Just play football. Shut up and play football."

In truth, it seemed Stanford players did just as much talking as the Cal players.

--In its five home games before facing Stanford, Cal had yielded only one touchdown drive that started on the opponent's side of the 50-yard line and none longer than 60 yards. However, Stanford had five touchdown drives of 60 yards or more, plus another of 56 yards. Stanford's 48 points tied a record for the most points scored by a team in the Stanford-Cal rivalry.

--Stanford's Rose Bowl situation is complicated, but the simplest scenario is this… If Auburn loses to Alabama or South Carolina and Stanford beats Oregon State, the Cardinal probably will go to the Rose Bowl. If Auburn wins out, Stanford probably is headed for the Alamo Bowl.

WHO'S HOT: QB Andrew Luck. Besides being nearly perfect throwing the ball -- 16-for-20, 235 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions -- he was also the game's leading rusher with 72 yards. His 58-yard scramble up the middle on a third-down play from the Cardinal 21-yard line was the key play of the game. He has 24 touchdown passes this season, three shy of the Stanford record shared by John Elway and Steve Stenstrom.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Doug Baldwin, who had his second consecutive big game against Cal. After catching 10 passes for 122 yards against Arizona State on Nov. 13, he had five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown last week. And two of his catches against Cal were of the spectacular nature -- one in which he jumped up a plucked the ball from two Cal defenders in double coverage for 47 yards, and another on an outstanding leaping catch in the end zone.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "In my opinion, he's the best quarterback in the country. He's a very accurate passer, he doesn't make mistakes. He's big and strong, he has speed and athleticism. I suppose, if he chose to come out, he'd be the first quarterback taken in the (NFL) draft." -- Cal coach Jeff Tedford, on Stanford QB Andrew Luck.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: Stanford's offense. Cal's defense had been outstanding in its five previous home games, but the Cardinal went up and down the field on the Bears, churning out 467 yards and scoring on its first eight possessions, seven of which were touchdowns. No team has come close to doing that against the Bears in Berkeley. Plus, the Cardinal did not turn the ball over. Andrew Luck was the key component in the offense, completing 16 of 20 passes and rushing for 72 yards without being sacked.

STILL NEEDS WORK: Tailbacks Anthony Wilkerson and Stepfan Taylor. This is really nit-picking, because both did all right, but neither produced the big runs and consistent gains they typically do. They combined for 33 carries, and both averaged less than four yards a carry. It seems Taylor may have been supplanted as the team's No. 1 running back by Wilkerson, who outgained Taylor for the second straight game. Wilkerson, a freshman, had 18 carries, and Taylor, a sophomore, had 15. After rushing for more than 100 yards in five straight games, Taylor has failed to reach 85 yards in any of the past three.

ROSTER REPORT:
--WR Chris Owusu did not play in the game against Cal because of an undisclosed injury. It was the fifth game he has missed this season, and it's uncertain whether he will play against Oregon State this week.

--QB Alex Loukas, who is Andrew Luck's backup and who comes into the game when the Cardinal wants to run the option, injured his leg in the game against Cal and was on crutches afterward. His availability for the game against Oregon State is uncertain, but it would seem unlikely he could play.

--CB Richard Sherman had an interception in the first quarter that stopped a Cal threat. It was his third pick of the season and the fifth of his career. He began his Stanford career as a wide receiver.


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