Bears Suffer Worst Big Game Defeat Since 1930
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Category: Sports > Fall > Football
When the Cal captains met Stanford at midfield for the pregame coin toss, they were followed by the rest of their team. Yelling and clapping, the Bears marched toward the Cardinal bench. As the teams converged, emotions flew and a punch did too until the referees came in to restore order.
That was the first, and the last, time the Bears played the aggressor.
On Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, the No. 6 Cardinal efficiently dispatched Cal by a score of 48-14. It was the worst Cal loss in the Big Game since being shut out 41-0 in 1930, and the first time the Bears lost the Axe at home since 2000.
"I thought the Cal team was talking a lot of trash before the game. Our guys really kept their cool, and I think that was a big difference today," Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said. "They kept their poise. 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."
Stanford did that, but not without Cal's help. The Bears (5-6, 3-5 in the Pac-10) practically gave away points on turnovers and 95 yards worth of penalties. Quarterback Brock Mansion fumbled two of his first three snaps, losing the second to Stanford defensive end Matt Masifilo. Kicker Nate Whitaker nailed a 29-yard field goal to put the Cardinal up 3-0.
"There were plenty of plays to be had," Mansion said. "They did this, but what did we do? We were always in position to be successful on all those plays. It didn't always turn our way."
Mansion killed two more drives before the half. With four minutes left in the first quarter, he threw a miserable pass off his back foot into the arms of cornerback Richard Sherman. The Cardinal offense jaunted 95 yards downfield, and running back Stepfan Taylor walked into the end zone to put Stanford up 10-0.
Mansion's second pick of the half came with minutes remaining before the intermission. While running the hurry up offense, Mansion hurried too much, throwing an interception to Michael Thomas. Quarterback Andrew Luck drove the Card 61 yards down the field, capping off the drive with a beautiful dagger of a touchdown that faded into wide receiver Doug Baldwin's outstretched hands.
Luck, who should rightfully be the first quarterback picked in the NFL Draft next year, looked like a future Pro Bowler on Saturday. He went 16-of-21 for 235 yards. Luck also rushed for a team-high 72 yards, 58 coming on a third-and-5 scramble that the Bears were only barely able to catch up with.
A week after holding the No. 1 Oregon defense to its season-low in points, the Cal defense surrendered 467 total yards of offense to Stanford (10-1, 7-1). The Cardinal only had to punt once.
"We gave up too much, too early," safety Sean Cattouse said. "We didn't execute. We were in position to make plays, and we didn't."
The Bears moved the ball at times, but just couldn't finish. Mansion finished the day 19-of-37 with one touchdown, a catch-and-pitch late in the game from wide receiver Keenan Allen to tailback Isi Sofele. Their other touchdown came off the arm of Allen, who found Marvin Jones in the end zone for a 17-yard strike in the fourth quarter.
"I just try to go out there and give it my all," Allen said. "But when we lose, I feel like I did it for no reason."
However anticlimactic it may now seem, the Bears still have one game left to play. Next Saturday, Washington comes to Memorial Stadium to close out the season. It is a must-win for both teams if they hope to play more football this winter.
"We have one more game at home here against Washington to get our sixth win and be bowl eligible," coach Jeff Tedford said. " ... If you can't get motivated for that, then something's wrong."
In the midst of Tedford's worst season in his nine years in Berkeley, some might argue that something already is.
An earlier version of this article stated that the last time Stanford beat Cal in Berkeley was in 1984. In fact, it was in 2000.
The Daily Californian regrets the error.
Katie Dowd covers football. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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