So Suddenly, It's Six

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And suddenly, if not inevitably, it was over.

Stanford fullback Casey Moore came up the middle of the field, getting more and more wide open with each step toward the end zone and the Cardinal's sixth consecutive Big Game victory.

Before he even caught Randy Fasani's 25-yard touchdown pass the 67,500 fans inside Memorial Stadium had either started cheering or had gone into the initial stage of a stunned silence.

"That final play looked like 'The Matrix'" Cal senior Andre Carter said. "Every thing was just in slow motion and I was like, 'What, that's it?'"

The Cardinal came away with a 36-30 win in the first overtime game in 103 Stanford-Cal clashes.

Stanford's sudden score ended what was an exciting, yet ugly game, not to mention the collegiate careers of the Bears' 16 seniors.

"There was a group of seniors last year, and now this year, that are leaving without winning this game," Cal punter Nick Harris said. "I just pray that the underclassmen don't let this feeling go and they use it as motivation."

The Cardinal (5-6, 4-4 in the Pac-10) found themselves in position to win because the Bears did not score on their first overtime possession.

"It's difficult when you are up first and don't score because they can basically kick a field goal from where they are and win the game," Cal head coach Tom Holmoe said. "That put us in a risky defense right there."

Holmoe said the team was anticipating a run play on the game-winning touchdown pass.

Cal's overtime series was almost as brief as Stanford's two-play game-winning drive.

Faced with a critical 3-and-5 from the 20-yard line, Cal quarterback Kyle Boller rolled to his right but couldn't get the ball to wide receiver Geoff McArthur.

"Kyle saw me a split second too late," McArthur said. "After that pass, I just wanted to crawl under the grass and stay there."

At that point Cal (3-8, 2-6) was forced to go for a field goal, but a 37-yard attempt by Mark-Christian Jensen was waved off because of a false start.

Pushed back five yards, Jensen's 42-yard attempt was a low line drive that missed the crossbar wide left.

But the fact that the game was even that close had to be disappointing because the Bears clearly outplayed the Card. But Cal played itself out of the game with numerous turnovers, penalties and special teams breakdowns.

The Bears had five turnovers - four of them interceptions by quarterback Kyle Boller. Cal punter Nick Harris also had two punts blocked, resulting in Stanford's first nine points of the game.

The Bears changed their punt snapper because Brian Surgener bounced two of his snaps, including the first blocked punt. His replacement, Jacob Waasdorp, fared better on the snaps, but Cal could not block Stanford and Brian Gaffney came in untouched to block the second punt for the Card.

After opening the game with a flawless touchdown drive capped by a Saleem Muhammad one-yard touchdown run, the Bears offense went into hibernation.

The team did not score again in the first half and went into the locker room trailing, 16-7.

But the Cal offense came alive at a time when it usually hasn't - late in the game.

Led by the two-man running attack of Muhammad and Joe Igber, the Bears dominated Stanford on the ground, outrunning the Cardinal 181 yards to 48.

After struggling in the first half with only two yards on three carries, Igber came alive in the second, finishing the game with 89 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns. Muhammad had 99 yards on 14 carries.

After a touchdown reception by Joseph Echema, Cal reclaimed the lead on its next drive. Starting at the Stanford 36-yard line, the drive consisted of four plays, all rushes by Igber. The sophomore blasted up the middle and cut up the left side of the field, where he dove into the left corner of the end zone to complete a 27-yard touchdown run.

After Stanford scored on a fourth-and-one, one-yard touchdown pass to DeRonnie Pitts, the Bears responded with a 27-yard Jensen field goal to knot the game at 23.

The Cardinal then went ahead on the next play from scrimmage, a 75-yard touchdown scamper by Luke Powell, who caught a short Fasani pass and ran up the left sideline after the Cal secondary failed to knock him out of bounds.

The Bears' final drive started with 1:59 left in the game, Cal drove 59 yards, and another Igber touchdown run sent the game into overtime.


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