For Cal, Goff is 11 of 18 for 143 yards, a touchdown and two picks. Daniel Lasco has 33 rush yards on eight touches.
Time of possession is nearly 19 to 11 for the Card, but total plays are closer at 41 to 32 Stanford. Both teams are moving it well – Stanford has 7.3 yards per play and Cal has 6.2 – but Cal has three turnovers to Stanford's two. The Card received the opening kick, lead with 133 rushing yards to Cal's 55, and have no penalty yards to Cal's 26, so all those factors have combined for the 24-7 margin.
The trend continues as we start the third quarter. Cal moves the ball to pick up a first down. But then Goff is hit on the throw and David Parry recovers the fumble for tentative turnover No. 4. The play is under review, and to me it looks like the call will be overturned thanks to the "tuck rule". … Elsewhere in the Pac, Arizona is rolling last week's nemesis Utah, 21-10 in the fourth quarter. ASU beats WSU 52-31 and Oregon leads Colorado 30-3. … Sure enough, call is overturned, and that makes two for this game's crew. Ouch.
Second down is thrown away – as Ronnie Harris gets a hard hit on his receiver that leaves the announcers talking about a flag – and third down sees James Vaughters come off his block, reverse direction and blow up a screen that had potential given the Stanford blitz. So the Card will take over possession after all, but at their 26 after a punt.
Christian McCaffrey with his second nice catch in traffic on as many targets, this one for 27 yards. Next snap, Austin Hooper catches for 16, though he appears to hurt his shoulder as he comes down on the play. The offense again stalls in the red zone with a third-down corner route incomplete, but yet another Cal penalty keeps the drive alive, this one a pass interference that while technically correct, might have been let go normally. Stanford is benefitting from the whistles today, with no penalties to Cal's five now.
Remound Wright caps the drive with his third touchdown of the day. It's Stanford's first 100-yard rusher of the season.
Stanford 31, Cal 7, 9:16 remaining, third quarter
Luke Rubenzer is our backup quarterback in the game, and he's scrambly. He runs for 17 before being summersaulted by Ronnie Harris, then 11 on a play that comes back for a hold, and then four. Goff comes in to fire for 14 on a picture-perfect third-down pass to Bryce Treggs. The two QBs keep switching snaps, but Henry Anderson draws a hold to render the switching largely academic. It's second and 20 for Bears, Rubenzer throws a jump ball, and Jordan Richards has the pick at Stanford's 12, good for the Cardinal's first interception. He's whistled for celebratory pushups, so the Card will start from the six.
Elsewhere, it's 17-all with Florida State in field goal range with a minute to go against Boston College. Looks like they will escape yet again, as did Ohio State against Indiana. Louisville leads Notre Dame 31-28 early in the fourth, and now it's 42-10 Arizona over Utah. That was the D we managed seven points against in regulation. At least we're not No. 8 Ole Miss, down 27-0 at Arkansas.
Wright now with 20 carries and no one else over four attempts. Three carries up the middle for Wright and a punt for Stanford, our second of the day.
Ben Rhyne has a huge punt but ends up having to make the tackle on the 26-yard return. Cal will start from the Cardinal 31. Fourteen-yard run, and then the rare 13 men on the field penalty as Stanford can't handle the tempo. Rubenzer back in for a seeming touchdown scramble, though moved back to the two-inch line on review.
First-down scramble stuffed, and would this be the goal-line stand to end all stands. Not to be, as Rubenzer does just get over the plane on second down for the touchdown. No wait, on review after a lengthy replay, he's ruled down at the half-inch line, and then add in a 15-yard late hit, and Cal's now at the 15 for third and goal. Third time today the officials have had to correct themselves.
Lawler with a beautiful reception off a beautiful Jared Goff throw for a touchdown, but no, the officials have to review it again. Come on, throw these guys a bone, looks clean to me, and let's just keep this moving. Although this would be great if the officials reversed themselves again – Strawberry Canyon might go apoplectic. WHAT? It's reversed again. Reversal No. 4 on the day, right as ex-official/rules guru Mike Pereira is on the screen talking about how both of these should have been touchdowns.
Add replay-gate to the rivalry's legacy. Wait, it's another hold on Cal after a five-yard run – off the replay of the original third down due to an offsides. We've seemingly had eight snaps this series and it's only third down. Incomplete on third, and the field goal unit comes on for fourth down after the most 21st century of goal-line stands.
Stanford 31, Cal 10, 1:21 remaining, third quarter
Hey, at least the Cal fans will have something to complain about now.
Onside kick, both teams are fighting chippily. Originally called Stanford ball, overturned to Cal ball as Steven Anderson comes up with the ball. This might just be the game to catalyze real changes in the Pac-12 refereeing. Oh wait, previous play under review as we David Shaw challenges. Why not? No, turns out to be Cal ball after all. Goff completes on third down to end the period.
Stanford is offsides on fourth and short to extend the Cal drive. Cal is just throwing jump balls every third play at this point, but hey, they continue to fight, they take risks on offense, they have a great young quarterback, and they're seemingly moving in the right direction.
For today though, it's fourth and nine and Goff is flushed for a five-yard scramble. Stanford ball, and game over, in all likelihood.
Stanford dials up 2012 with a drive in which the ball doesn't go in the air once. McCaffrey is again responsible for the biggest plays, running for 12 on third and nine, and then serving as the decoy as Hogan picks up 24 (plus 14 penalty yards) on a scramble. Wright, who else, caps the drive with his fourth touchdown of the day, and when the formula works, it's beautiful.
Stanford 38, Cal 10, 7:36 remaining
Louisville hangs on over Notre Dame, 31-28. Michigan, in a game that may be of interest only to me, comes from ahead to lose to Maryland, 23-16. Brady Hoke's chances of being fired jump from 99% to 99.9%. Think our offense is struggling? Wake Forest 6, Virginia Tech 3, a double-overtime final. The teams combined for under 500 yards, extra periods and all.
How about this week's SEC schedule? Of the 14 teams in the league, six are playing each other, mostly the lower-budget programs. Three are on bye, and five might as well be, as they're playing Sisters of the Poor. Auburn/Samford, Alabama/West Carolina, Florida/Eastern Kentucky, Georgia/Charleston Southern, and South Carolina/South Alabama. I don't blame the programs, each acting in their own best interest. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and as David Shaw has pointed out, it'll be up to the playoff committee to make decisions to drive future scheduling practices.
UCLA/USC is the headline game for the league, coming up next. Depending on results elsewhere, with a UCLA win, Stanford could be playing spoiler for a Pac-12 Championship bid, if not an outside shot at the college football playoff.
Cal has done next to nothing offensively this second half, and kudos to the Stanford D. 333 yards with a few minutes to go is an incredible performance for this defense against an offense among the nation's statistical best.
The Bears do punch in a garbage time touchdown, but won't change today's story. Stanford rolled.
Shout out, by the way, to men's cross-country, taking a surprising second at the NCAA Finals to Colorado, led by a graduate student transfer from Harvard. The women were 14th, but their best runner is redshirting and they have five freshmen or true freshmen on the roster. Part of a trend in which many of the non-revenue sports seem to be bouncing back in recent years.
Stanford punts and Cal drives toward a last-minute touchdown – but wait, it's an interception for Terrence Alexander, and very nearly a pick six. Stanford knees and it's over.
Stanford 38, Cal 17, Final
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