Luck Leads Stanford to Big Game Win

Stanford beats Cal 48-14 in Berkeley

By NBC Bay Area Sports
|  Sunday, Nov 21, 2010  |  Updated 11:42 AM PDT
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A look at what's next for <a title=Stanford and Cal after the Cardinal took back the Axe in the 113th Big Game." />

Laurence Scott

A look at what's next for Stanford and Cal after the Cardinal took back the Axe in the 113th Big Game.

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Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes and led No. 7 Stanford to scores on all eight possessions he played as the Cardinal beat California 48-14 Saturday for its most lopsided win in the Big Game in 80 years.

Luck came into this rivalry game looking to avenge the worst performance of his career in last year's loss against the Golden Bears, when he completed 10 of 30 passes and threw a game-sealing interception deep in Cal territory with just over a minute left.
 
Boy, did he do that, giving Stanford (10-1, 7-1 Pac-10) just its second win in the past nine games against Cal (5-6, 3-5). The Cardinal did it in emphatic fashion 28 years to the day after being stunned on this same field by The Play.
 
Luck made sure there would be no dramatic finishes this time. He carved up the Pac-10's top-ranked defense and tied Cal's record set in 1975 for the most points scored in the rivalry.
 
Luck led the Cardinal on touchdown drives of 95, 86, 90 and 61 yards in the first half. He threw touchdown passes to Zach Ertz and Doug Baldwin and bowled over safety Sean Cattouse on a 58-yard run that set up Stanford's first touchdown.
 
Luck also engineered touchdown drives on the first two drives of the second half, then led the Cardinal to a field goal in the fourth quarter as the offense never slowed down until he left the game in the final minutes.
 
Luck completed 16 of 20 passes for 235 yards and added 72 yards on the ground. Stepfan Taylor ran for three scores as the Cal defense, which shut down No. 1 Oregon's high-powered spread offense in a 15-13 loss just one week ago, had no answers for Luck and the Cardinal's power game.
 
Brock Mansion fumbled the first snap from center, and that was an omen for how this day would go for Cal. Mansion threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and finished 19-for-37 for 173 yards.
 
Shane Vereen ran for 63 yards, giving him a career-high 1,061 for the season, and Cal got its first score on a 17-yard TD pass from receiver Keenan Allen to Marvin Jones early in the fourth quarter to make it 45-7.
 
Cal scored on another trick play in the closing seconds as Isi Sofele took a lateral from Allen and scored to help the Bears avoid matching the most one-sided loss in the history of this rivalry. Stanford beat Cal 41-0 in 1930.
 
The Bears now need to win their season finale at home next week against Washington to be eligible to go to a bowl for an eighth straight season.
 
The game got off to a heated start when the entire Cal team came out for the opening coin toss, only to be joined by the Stanford players. There was lots of jawing while officials kept the players apart. Stanford reserve receiver Jamal-Rashad Patterson was ejected as each team was hit with a personal foul.
 
It was much less competitive after the opening kickoff. Mansion fumbled two of the first three snaps from center, losing the second to set up a field goal by Nate Whitaker.
 
Richard Sherman intercepted a pass from Mansion to end Cal's second possession. Stanford capitalized with a 95-yard TD drive, capped by Taylor's 3-yard run. The drive was highlighted by Luck's 58-yard run that included the shoulder knockdown of Cattouse.
 
Luck showed off his arm on Stanford's third drive, threading a pretty 27-yard pass to Griff Whalen on third down to help set up Taylor's second TD run.

Luck connected on a 13-yard score to Ertz to make it 24-0. After Mansion threw his second interception, Luck calmly led the Cardinal down the field in the closing seconds of the half. Baldwin made a leaping 19-yard catch over Bryant Nnabuife to make it 31-0 with 22 seconds left.
 

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