3 TOs help Card take 24-7 lead, Half

The live blog from the first half of the Big Game.

So we finally got the Fox Sports 2 stream up and running. No big deal, just the first quarter of Big Game we missed because we need to see every last second of Oklahoma 44, Kansas 7. Why can't Fox Sports 1 split the state of California off to receive the Big Game at the least? ESPN does regional coverage during the women's NCAA tournament, and ABC/ESPN2 do regional coverage every week, so clearly you can split up cable programming by region. But, hey, revenge for the Grapes of Wrath, I guess. OU did have freshman Samaje Perine break the NCAA rushing record with an unthinkable 427 yards, so maybe he could follow Chase Beeler and ask for a transfer?

What'd we miss? Cal's down its best defender, Michael Lowe, ejected for targeting on the first snap of the game. Stanford's down its best offensive player in Ty Montgomery, currently getting an X-ray for his reinjured right shoulder off a bubble screen per the sideline report.

The Stanfords -- as the newspaper accounts of yore called us, per Mark DeVaughn's reports – took the opening drive with a vengeance, with Cal mistakes helping out greatly. Lowe's targeting penalty atop an 18-yard pass to Austin Hooper moved the Cardinal into Bear territory on the first play from scrimmage. Then, after a 30-yard Remound Wright rush, Stanford nearly stalled in the red zone, but wait – here comes a third-and-six pass interference call Ty Montgomery drew on Darius Wright. Wright needs two carries from the two yard-line to do so, but he does cross the plane soon after.

Stanford 7, Cal 0, 12:38 remaining, first quarter

Jeff Goff completes for one first down, but then the drive stalls and it's a rare Cal punt. Stanford starts its second drive from the 32 – this is the drive that sees Montgomery get injured -- and advances with chunk plays to Austin Hooper (for 13 yards) and Devon Cajuste (for 21 yards). On the fateful third down in the red zone though, Kevin Hogan checks down to Michael Rector, and this time there's no pass interference to keep the drive alive. Instead, Jordan Williamson pads to his school-record point total, true from 24.

Stanford 10, Cal 0, 06:26 remaining, first quarter

Next would come a promising Cal drive, only for the Bears to fumble deep into the red zone. No complaining, Bears, it's the story of our season. But, yes, Goff picked up four passing first downs as the Bears went from their 25 to within inches of the Stanford end zone. At the last minute though – as running back Daniel Lasco headed for the end zone – Blake Martinez stripped and A.J. Tarpley, like he did in the triple overtime win over USC, recovered an end-zone fumble. Frustratingly, the online stats wizards will score it a Cal touchdown and subsequent fumble (which is inconsistent with the rules of football, but whatever), so ESPN and other sites would show the score 10-6 for a while thereafter. But, no, it's 10-0 and presumably time for the Stanford shell offense.

We get two runs out of jumbo up the middle – our TV switches over from the Oklahoma nailbiter right about at this point. Then we hear Joey Harrington, in a comment with layer upon layer of irony for a writer who grew up seeing him struggle with the Detroit Lions, say that it's a high school throw to a wide-open Jordan Pratt that Kevin Hogan flat-out misses to bring on the punt team. Sass aside, he's right, and Stanford is lucky the deflection isn't intercepted, as a secondary Cardinal receiver and two Cal defenders had a shot at it.

Stanford 10, Cal 0, End of First Quarter

Harrington is consistently commenting on the Stanford defense playing off Cal's receivers, and Goff takes advantage on the first drive of the second quarter. He completes for 28 just before the quarter begins, and then picks up where he left off with strikes for six and then 10 to Steph Anderson, good for a touchdown.

Stanford 10, Cal 7, 14:26 remaining, second quarter

Off a four-play, 47-yard drive for the Bears, Stanford raises the bar. It's 69 yards in 11 plays, with Cajuste picking up two first downs on receptions of 10-plus yards, and Kelsey Young gets the Card down to the five with an 18-yard screen, a nice call given Cal's blitz. Cal hasn't gotten home against Stanford's offensive line all day and sold out with that blitz, so Young had little to keep him from all but scoring. Remound Wright finishes off the job the next snap – he's called down at first, but the call is overturned on review.

Stanford 17, Cal 7, 7:59 remaining, second quarter

Cal is then infected by the Stanford bug. They're moving it between the 30s just fine, advancing from their 25 to the Stanford 30 on this drive. But then they shoot themselves in the foot, this time with a Goff interception that never got off cleanly. Unclear if the ball was actually tipped at the line or James Vaughters just got Goff's arm, but either way, it's a wounded duck, and Blake Martinez is there to collect at the Card 24.

At least Goff was hit. Three plays later, it's another ugly, ugly throw from Hogan, this one on a bomb to Michael Rector. He overthrows Rector by 10 yards, which is hard to do for a 4.4-type guy, but Darius White is playing deep and has a diving interception of the arm punt.

Oh wait, it's yet another interception. Again it's Blake Martinez, this time with the pick at the Cal 12. Three runs later, and Kevin Hogan high-steps into the end zone for a five-yard run.

Stanford 24, Cal 7, 1:22 remaining, second quarter

Henry Anderson with a sack and a drawn intentional grounding, so Cal punts and Stanford has 33 seconds from its 25. What's the call? Oh right, run up the middle for five and don't use any of our three timeouts. We then have consecutive passes to Francis Owusu of nine, 18 and 16 yards to move the ball to the Cal 26, but there's no time left on the clock because of the call of run up the middle, and the 10 seconds we then let tick off the clock without a timeout. Luckily, we have an unused timeout – maybe we can use it during halftime? This is part of Booties' frustrations with the current offense, no doubt. We aren't exactly trying our utmost to score as many points as possible, which should be the goal on that side of the ball.

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