November 20, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
Rivalry Resumes After Last Seasonâ€™s Classic Stanford: Tell Me How Our Axe Tastes Gabriel Baumgaertner
If Stanford wins this Saturday, then there is a very high likelihood that they will make a BCS bowl game. If Cal loses, then they must beat Washington if they hope to make even the most mediocre bowl game. In essence, itâ€™s a must-win game for both teams. After all, pride is at stake. The Big Game is always a must-win. The Cal defense did a fine job bruising LaMichael Jamesâ€™ Heisman hopes last week, and theyâ€™ll need a similar defensive performance if they hope to stop another Heisman hopeful, Stanfordâ€™s Andrew Luck. â€œWeâ€™ll drop our battle axe on Stanfordâ€™s head, CHOP!â€? Worrell Williams summarized it best after the 2008 Big Game: â€œWe donâ€™t belong on the same field as those guys. We have way more athletes than those guys and weâ€™re way more fundamentally sound than those guys. Weâ€™re better than those guys.â€? With Stanford ranked sixth in the nation, this isnâ€™t true like it was two years ago, but this is a time to exude some arrogance. This is our domicile. The only way Cal can drop the axe is if the student section is ear-piercingly loud, if every â€œGoâ€? booms and is answered with an even louder â€œBearsâ€?. â€œDown on the Stanford Farm thereâ€™ll be no sound, SHHH!â€? Letâ€™s silence that peninsula. Silence the talk of a BCS game. Silence the talk of a Heisman Trophy. Silence Jim Harbaugh (which is a really difficult task). Let the gloriously deafening Stanford silence after Mike Mohamedâ€™s interception last season be an uproarious response from our belligerent confines in Strawberry Canyon. Letâ€™s play the part of the restless proletariat. Letâ€™s be the underdogs. Weâ€™ll take that role and run with it. This has been Jeff Tedfordâ€™s worst year roaming the Cal sidelines, but he remains Stanfordâ€™s nightmare. Weâ€™re going to retain the Axe because itâ€™s our house. Thatâ€™s only if you as fans make it our house. â€œWhen our Oski rips through the air, like our friend Mr. Jonah, Stanfordâ€™s team will be found in the tummy of the Golden Bear.â€? Itâ€™s the Big Game. Even with my Stanford ties, I felt a hole in my stomach when a mediocre Cardinal squad claimed the Axe from Cal in 2007. Only your finest, loudest participation will prevent the Axe from crossing the bay, especially with how talented this Stanford team is. Itâ€™s time to give â€˜em the Axe, the Axe, the Axe right in their BCS hopes. Go Bears.
God, I love Big Game week. Blue and gold lights cover the trees on Upper Sproul and Sather Gate and the Cal logo shines brightly off of the Campanile every evening. Mankl]Zr%FZr,%+))0 Yeah, I know, youâ€™re the type that pillories school spirit. You left all of your tribal impulses back in your high school basketball gym. Your dorm-mate girlfriend doesnâ€™t like it when you wear a Cal shirt out to your weekly date at CafĂŠ Mediterranean; she would prefer a V-neck sweater and some corduroys. She also insists you watch â€œGarden Stateâ€? one more time to discover its true emotional depth. Why muster the energy to show enthusiasm for your school when you can channel that energy into discussions about the redistribution of American labor? Say what you want about the tenets of national socialism, dude, but itâ€™s an ethos. But for as long as weâ€™re in Big Game week, pause your Elliot Smith album, close Das Kapital and shed your skinny jeans. Embrace this great university and the spirit that goes along with it. As I learned this summer working at Lair of the Golden Bear, there are a lot of individuals that really love Cal and everything that goes with it. They shiver with nostalgia when they hear â€œHail to Californiaâ€? and emphatically clap in unison with â€œSons of California.â€? The coming of Big Game is a time for these old blues to return to their college days, so letâ€™s remind them that we too love our school. After all, itâ€™s Stanford. If that doesnâ€™t get you at least remotely excited then Iâ€™m not sure what will. So letâ€™s talk about football guided through the abridged lyrics of â€œThe Stanford Jonah.â€? â€œSo then itâ€™s up with the blue and gold, down with the red/ Californiaâ€™s up Give Gabrielâ€™s column the Axe at for a victory.â€? firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Calâ€™s offensive line will have to protect quarterback Brock Mansion against Stanfordâ€™s front seven if he is to have a breakout game. by Ed Yevelev
Daily Cal Staff Writer Hearing Mike Mohamed speak about Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck last week was puzzling, to say the least. â€œI havenâ€™t seen too much of him,â€? Calâ€™s senior inside linebacker said. â€œFrom what Iâ€™ve heard heâ€™s been having a great year.â€? You would have expected an immediate â€œjust kidding,â€? or at least a wink or a smile from Mohamed when saying those words about a potential Heisman Trophy winner â€” especially considering the pairâ€™s most recent acquaintance. When the two players last took the field against one another last November, they enacted a thrilling conclusion to the most dramatic Big Game in recent memory. It was Mohamed who leaped and plucked Luckâ€™s potential game-tying touchdown pass out of the air near the goal line. That soon-to-be iconic play preserved Calâ€™s 34-28 victory over a red-hot Cardinal squad. One season later, as both teams prepare for the Bay Area rivalryâ€™s
113th installment, many of last yearâ€™s key actors will return for Saturdayâ€™s 12:30 p.m., showdown at Memorial Stadium. Joining Luck and Mohamed will be junior running back Shane Vereen, whose remarkable 42-carry, 193-yard, three-touchdown performance propelled the Bears to an upset win at Stanford Stadium last year. However, much has changed about both Cal (5-5, 3-4 in the Pac-10) and No. 6 Stanford (9-1, 6-1) since the two teams last squared off. The Bears are now fighting just to make a bowl this year, while the Cardinal have more grandiose plans heading into Saturdayâ€™s contest â€” a trip to the Rose Bowl is certainly not out of reach for them. Even with former Heisman runnerup Toby Gerhart playing for the Minnesota Vikings, the Stanford offense has continued its torrid pace. Stanford is rolling up nearly 40 points and 467.1 yards per contest, keyed by a future NFL No. 1 pick in Luck and a physical, veteran-laden offensive line. â€œTheyâ€™re so balanced. They run the ball 213 yards a game, throw
for 250-something yards a game, so thereâ€™s a lot of balance on that offense,â€? Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said during Mondayâ€™s Big Game Media Luncheon in San Francisco. â€œTheyâ€™re not one-dimensional. Theyâ€™re very physical, they protect Luck very well ... Theyâ€™re a very difficult offense to stop.â€? While Jim Harbaughâ€™s club has continued to blossom offensively behind Luckâ€™s maturation, the Bearsâ€™ own attack has sputtered mightily of late. Calâ€™s offense has scored a meager 34 points over its last three games, while relying overwhelmingly on Vereenâ€™s hard-nosed running ability. Against a squad like the Cardinal, however, Vereen alone will not be enough. â€œWeâ€™re going to have to be able to be balanced on offense,â€? Tedford said. â€œYou canâ€™t be one-dimensional in any part of the game. Thatâ€™s what weâ€™ll works towards this week.â€? Much of that load falls on the shoulders of Brock Mansion once again. Gone is senior quarterback Kevin Riley, who helped orchestrate four
>> preview: Page 3
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Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
preview: Mansion to Make Second Home Start from page 2
consecutive touchdown drives to help the team overcome an early 14-point deficit on the Farm. The Dallas, Texas native will replace Rileyâ€™s four years of playing experience and two Big Game victories with only two career starts. Despite making several strong plays, Mansionâ€™s consistency in the pocket has been underwhelming so far. Mansionâ€™s completion percentage has topped 50-percent once this year, and he has thrown for just one touchdown since taking over for Riley against Oregon State three weeks ago. â€œItâ€™s going to be very important for him to keep his composure and for him just to play within himself and not try to do too much,â€? Tedford said of Mansion.
â€œHeâ€™s still learning, thereâ€™s no doubt about it ... Still getting used to the speed of the game, obviously, but he has a lot of confidence and his teammates have done a great job around him of supporting him throughout the week of practice and during the games.â€? Perhaps the biggest difference in both clubs between last seasonâ€™s match-up and this yearâ€™s has been each sideâ€™s emergence on defense under new first-year coordinators. Nowhere was it more evident than last weekend. Led by 16 tackles from Mohamed and a slew of other superb individual performances, Cal clamped down on No. 1 Oregonâ€™s previously unstoppable spread option attack in a 15-13 loss.
Now boasting the conferenceâ€™s top total defense, the Bears allowed just one offensive touchdown and 317 total yards to a team that was averaging 54.7 points and 567.2 yards, respectively. Not that Stanford canâ€™t slow down opponents, either. With Vic Fangio at the helm of the defense, the Cardinal have posted two shut-outs in conference play (against UCLA and Washington, respectively). More recently, Stanford has allowed just 30 combined points against the Arizona schools. â€œTheyâ€™re very physical,â€? Tedford said. â€œTheyâ€™re good up front, they good at linebackers, very solid secondary, so itâ€™s going to be a major challenge, thereâ€™s no doubt about it.â€?
Predictions Ed Yevelev
daily cal staff writer
daily cal staff writer
daily cal staff writer
Bay Area News Group
Ed Yevelev covers football. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
daily cal Sports Editor
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tâ€™s not easy being a Cal football fan. I canâ€™t complain too much though, as the Bears have enjoyed much more success since I started being a fan than they had for much of the last century. Still, the Bears have a tendency to raise your expectations only to then break your heart. I spent my 13th birthday watching a highly touted Cal squad commit a major party foul in getting thrashed by Texas Tech, 45-31, in the Holiday Bowl. Cal football has always been clouded with uncertainty, but thereâ€™s one surefire thing that Cal fans can look forward to every single year, and that is the Big Game. Regardless of how well or how poorly the rest of the season goes for
the Bears, thereâ€™s only one true measuring stick of success in my opinion: possession of the Axe. Watching the guys in blue and gold hold up the Axe makes me forget what it feels like to wake up on New Yearâ€™s Day and see the Rose Bowl flooded with maroon and gold. Nothing else really matters on Big Game day. Sure, we all know that UC Berkeley is a far superior place to be, but itâ€™s also nice to be able to say weâ€™re better at football too. There are few things in life that are more satisfying than looking a Stanfurd fan straight in the eye and proclaiming our superiority, which is something that the Big Game has allowed us to do time and time again. â€”Connor Byrne
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Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
Oregon State both baptized and buried Kevin Riley, but that’s not the whole story. by Katie Dowd Daily Cal Staff Writer
his story could start with Oregon State and end in Corvallis, but real life, the kind we live every day, isn’t so symmetrical. This story could begin with any number of high points or low points. There were blowouts on the road and victories written in Cardinal red. There were bowl games won and lost, national rankings earned and surrendered. But this story, like life, is made of the moments in between. When Kevin Riley remembers his first start against Stanford, he comes up with one memory in particular. “I threw the ball, terrible throw,
>> Riley: Page 7
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Saturday, NOVEMBER 20, 2010
A Look at Stanford
Player to Watch
• Stanford is 9-1 on the season after defeating Arizona State, 17-13 last Saturday in Tempe and are off to its best start since 1951, when Stanford took a 9-1 record into the Rose Bowl against Illinois.
Just last year, Chris Conte was one of several defensive backs competing for playing time in a loaded depth chart. This season, the Los Angeles native is arguably the Bears’ most improved player of the 2010 campaign. Conte started this season having never played a game at free safety, but he has compiled several standout games and was one of the best players in last week’s close loss to Oregon. A cornerback in his first three years in Berkeley, Conte has shown off his north-south abilities this season, seldom missing tackles when players get into the secondary or down the field. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will almost certainly provide a challenge for Conte on both fronts. Luck is one of the most efficient passers in the country but has no problem beating defenses with his legs either. Considered the best quarterback in the country by many, Conte will probably be on “spy” duty should Luck try and make any long runs down the field. It will be a battle of two vastly improved players in the Pac-10.
• In a series that dates back to 1892, Stanford leads the all-time series with California, 55-46-11. • The Cardinal scored a season low 17 points against Arizona State but are still averaging 39.80 points a game, which ranks second in the Pac-10 and ninth nationally. • Stanford leads the nation in third down conversion percentage (58.09; 79-136) and rank 11th nationally in ﬁrst downs (24.90). • The Cardinal have allowed just 30 points in the last three games, which are the fewest points given up by Stanford in a three-game stretch since the last three games of the 1992 season (27).
Player to Watch
Stanford Media Relations/Courtesy
Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh has done a lot to transform what was a hapless program just four seasons ago, and it is with players like Owen Marecic that has allowed him to turn the Cardinal into a national power. Plus, Harbaugh likes Marecic. And I mean he really likes him. The only two-way starter in college football, Marecic starts at both fullback and inside linebacker, he has been the subject of such gaudy Harbaugh compliments as “the perfectly engineered football player” and “the football player I always wanted to be.” Sure, there is a tinge of hyperbole to Harbaugh’s statements, but Marecic has compiled a fantastic senior season. He is a lead blocker for Stanford’s assembly of running backs led by Stepfan Taylor, and he’s a leading tackler on the defense. Maybe Marecic’s finest achievement this season came against Notre Dame, when he rushed for a 1-yard touchdown, and then on the next defensive series, intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist and returned it for a touchdown. Cal will need the foremost efforts of both its offensive and defensive line to stop Harbaugh’s dream player, who has succeeded all year.
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A Look at Cal • Cal has dominated the Big Game under head coach Jeff Tedford. The nine-year head coach enters today’s rivalry bout with a 7-1 record against Stanford, with the only loss coming in 2007 at the Farm. • A Cal defense that paces the Pac-10 and is among the nation’s leaders in total defense (301.3 ypg, good for 10th in the NCAA), pass defense (177.2 ypg, ranked 15th in the nation) and sacks (3.00 spg, ranked sixth) will be faced with a Stanford offense that has had success both in the air and on the ground. • Cal has not lost the Big Game at home since 2000, when they fell to the Cardinal 36-30 in overtime. The last Big Game victory at home was a 37-16 thrashing of the Cardinal, which was anchored by Jahvid Best’s 201 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns. • A victory in the game for Cal would mean extending its school-record bowl run to eight consecutive years. A win for Stanford and its hopes of playing in a BCS bowl continue.
Points Per Game 28.3 39.8 Points Allowed Per Game 20.0 20.7 Passing Yards Per Game
Rushing Yards Per Game 160.7
467.1 Total Defense
332.5 DE: CAMERON JORDAN NT: KENDRICK PAYNE DE: ERNEST OWUSU
ILB: D.J. HOLT MIKE MOHAMED OLB: KEITH BROWNER MYCHAL KENDRICKS
RG RT TE QB
RB QB: ANDREW LUCK RB: STEPFAN TAYLOR FB: OWEN MARECIC
CB: RICHARD SHERMAN FS MICHAEL THOMAS SS: DELANO HOWELL CB: JOHNSON BADEMOSI
RB LG: ANDREW PHILLIPS C: CHASE BEELER RG: DAVID DECASTRO RT: DEREK HALL
RG RT TE WR
WR: DOUG BALDWIN RYAN WHALEN TE: KONRAD REULAND LT: JONATHAN MARTIN
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Marvin Jones Steve Williams Marc Anthony Coleman Edmond D.J. Holt Jeremy Ross Kaelin Clay Alex Lagemann Michael Coley Alex Logan D.J. Campbell C.J. Moncrease Beau Sweeney Brock Mansion Michael Calvin Sean Cattouse Jarred Price Kevin Riley Bryant Nnabuife Vincenzo D'Amato Chris Conte Quinn Tedford Mike Mohamed Bryan Anger Jarrett Sparks Isi Sofele Keenan Allen Ryan Davis Will Kapp Josh Hill Dasarte Yarnway Trajuan Briggs Vachel Samuels Langston Jackson Darian Hagan Tyler York Mychal Kendricks Tyre Ellison John Tyndall David Aknin Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson Nick Forbes J.P. Hurrell Shane Vereen Robert Mullins Clark Porter Giorgio Tavecchio Aaron Tipoti Jerome Meadows Steven Fanua David Wilkerson Spencer Ladner David Seawright Keith Browner Eric Stevens Matt Rios Kameron Krebs Justin Gates Donovan Edwards Chris Guarnero Michael Costanzo Keni Kaufusi Brian Schwenke Chris Adcock Ed Johnston Justin Cheadle Dominic Galas Mark Brazinski Sam DeMartinis Mitchell Schwartz Richard Fisher Matt Summers-Gavin Tyler Rigsbee Anthony Miller Ross Bostock Jacob Wark Ian Albrecht Spencer Hagan Garry Graffort Solomona Aigamaua Deandre Coleman Trevor Guyton Ernest Owusu Kendrick Payne Cameron Jordan Savai'i Eselu Gabe King
ILB: SHAYNE SKOV OWEN MARECIC OLB: CHASE THOMAS THOMAS KEISER
DE: MATT MASIFILO NT: SIONE FUA DE: BRIAN BULCKE
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When Cal Has the Ball
When Stanford Has the Ball
CB: MARC ANTHONY FS: JOSH HILL SS: CHRIS CONTE CB: DARIAN HAGAN
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Corey Gatewood Michael Thomas Michael Spanos Drew Terrell Devon Carrington Alex Loukas Terrence Brown Josh Nunes Ryan Whalen Richard Sherman Geoff Meinken Shayne Skov Levine Toilolo Andrew Luck Robbie Picazo Ben Rhyne Usua Amanam Brent Seals Grif Whalen Alex Turner Jamal-Rashad Patterson Austin Yancy Quinn Evans Tyler Gaffney Delano Howell Johnson Bademosi Harold Bernard Ed Reynolds Ricky Seale Anthony Wilkerson Stepfan Taylor Jarek Lancaster Daniel Zychlinski David Green Nate Whitaker Taylor Skaufel Alex Debinak Chike Amajoyi Chase Thomas Andrew Fowler Eric Whitaker Myles Muagututia Owen Marecic Ben Gardner Brent Etiz David DeCastro Derek Hall Jonathan Martin Jacob Gowan Zach Nolan Max Bergen Sam Schwartzstein Khalil WIlkes Matt Bentler Andrew Phillips Chase Beeleer Cameron Fleming James McGillicuddy Dillon Bonnell Kevin Danser Tyler Mabry Brad Hallick George Halamandaris Sam Knapp Chris Owusu Coby Fleener David Dudchock Jemari Roberts Ryan Hewitt Zach Ertz Warren Reuland Konrad Reuland Doug Baldwin Josh Mauro Henry Anderson Sione Fua Trent Murphy Thomas Keiser Brian Bucike Eddie Plantaric Matthew Masifilo Terrence Stephens
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Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
QB: BROCK MANSION FB: ERIC STEVENS TB: SHANE VEREEN
FB WR: MARVIN JONES KEENAN ALLEN TE: ANTHONY MILLER LT: MITCHELL SCHWARTZ
LG: BRIAN SCHWENKE C: CHRIS GUARNERO RG: MATT SUMMERS-GAVIN RT: DONOVAN EDWARDS
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
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Saturday, November 20, 2010
BIG GAME The Daily Californian
RILEY: Quarterback Divides Hearts of Cal Fans from page 4
and everybody started booing,” he says. “And then the next play, I threw a 70-yard touchdown to Shane. Everybody started cheering. That’s just the way things work out.” Somewhere in the space between the boos and the cheers, you find Kevin Riley. iley holds a curious place in Cal football history. Everyone knows what he did during his playing days with the Bears. Yet his name was dragged in the mud so often he has come to feel less like a person and more like a symbol for what could have been. He’s been loved and hated in almost equal measures. In recollection, there is a mingling of sentimentality and candor. At times, Riley overflows with optimism (“I feel like if we play Stanford 10 times, we win 10 times”), and other times he is raw with honesty. “At home games you hear booing in the crowd sometimes,” Riley says. “You’re like, ‘Goddamn it. This sucks.’ They just want to win. They just want to do the best. You have to take that in perspective.” He disappointed because people always expected more from him. He was the redshirt freshman who walked into the Bears’ 21-0 second quarter deficit in the Armed Forces Bowl and calmly orchestrated a comeback of thrilling proportions. He was 16-of-19 with three touchdowns. He took home the MVP honors. It looked like the beginning of the Riley Era. But, from then on, the promise he showed only came in glimpses. “The next year, after the bowl game, I was pretty confident with the way the year ended up,” he says. “I was playing well. I think that’s the one spring where I really didn’t work as hard as I should have. “It was almost too easy, that whole season, with the team around me. I almost thought the game was too easy.” Riley’s biography on Calbears.com calls the 35-27 loss to Maryland in 2008 his “signature game.” In it, he passed for over 400 yards on a school-record 58 attempts. That, statistically, was the high point. He finished the year barely completing half of his passes, splitting time with senior Nate Longshore. “If I had worked harder, I probably would have had a better year and some of those things wouldn’t have happened,” Riley says. “I think every-
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one knows about that year, too, with the in and out. I didn’t really have much confidence. I don’t think Nate had much confidence either. It’s just a tough way to play.” Riley was named the outright starter the next year. 2009 was also the year he stopped reading newspapers. In Cal’s eight wins that season, Riley had 15 touchdowns. In their five losses, he had three touchdowns and four interceptions. Against Oregon and USC, he went a combined 27-of-71. Every week he forced himself to move on. “He brushed it off,” says Mike Mohamed, his close friend and roommate. “He put it behind him and kept his sights set on the goal, staying focused and just worrying about the next play and the next game.” Inside, Riley remained calm, but on the outside, the chatter was relentless. The media and the fans panned him. Even his successes were tempered with his failures. “I played bad in some games,” he says. “Those were games where the whole team played bad. Coach said, ‘It wasn’t all Kevin.’ Well, a large part of it was.” This offseason, Riley worked constantly on his shortcomings and when the season started, it seemed as though his moment had finally come. Through two games, he had seven touchdowns and 455 yards. Then, he threw three picks against Nevada. The next few weeks were up-and-down. The specter of inconsistency haunted him always. “Obviously I think I have potential to play a lot better than I did,” Riley says. “I was always working. I don’t think it was a matter of not trying to work hard. Some things just didn’t go the way they were supposed to, really.” He didn’t waste the last throw of his college career, though. As he fell under the weight of what would be a season-ending knee injury, the ball sailed 32 yards and dropped into Marvin Jones’ outstretched arms. In the words of Riley, a “dime throw.” But that is not his lasting image. Cal fans of a certain generation will always be able to replay that moment in the 2007 Oregon State game, that “blunder” as Riley calls it. Each year since, he’s had to answer questions about it and the tailspin that followed. He never puts much stock in it. Partly because it’s in the past but partly — whether he admits it or not — because he doesn’t want that single failure to define him. Hollywood would have scripted it
differently. Instead of getting hurt in Corvallis, he might have led a gamewinning drive against the Beavers to redeem himself. The Bears might have upset No. 1 Oregon a few weeks later. Riley would have been carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates as the soaring music faded out. But in reality, there is no such ending. People can act like a 23-year-old quarterback is a hero but, no matter who he is, he’s not. He’s just a kid who did his best to sustain the hopes of thousands of strangers. t’s been an unseasonably warm November in Berkeley, which reminds Riley of why he came to Cal in the first place. “Look at this,” he says as he gestures to the view of the sunny Campanile and San Francisco beyond. “Only in California.” Cal was his first Pac-10 offer. During his official visit, it was raining in his home state of Oregon and sunny in Berkeley. That, combined with the academics, were extras enough to sell Riley. “Oh my God, it’ll be fine if I don’t play a snap,” he thought. “I’ll get a degree, I’ll get a job, and I’ll be fine.” He saw the promise then, and he still sees it now. Riley turns the knobs on his leg brace as he discusses his options. He’ll rehab his knee and try to get drafted. If that doesn’t work out, he feels ready to join the corporate world. “I think a little competitive background will be nice.” He smiles. “I’m usually pretty good at winning competitions.” Until the season ends, though, Riley will keep one foot in the game. He sits in on quarterback meetings when he can, and he watches morning practice on crutches. Last Saturday, he went around the locker room encouraging his teammates before the game. The sunset was beautiful that day, and Riley, who is so attuned to the world around him, could not have failed to notice. The blue sky was streaked with coral clouds, glazing Memorial Stadium gold. Beyond it, the lights of a thousand lives clicked on all across the city. With each moment that passed, the skyline became a sweeter reminder that the most breathtaking light of the day comes right before the night — and that there is always light again after the dark.
Katie Dowd covers football. Contact her at email@example.com.
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Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
For Love of the BIG Game
y best friend turned down Harvard for Stanford. You can imagine, then, the lead-up to Big Game 2009. We were both sophomores, so it was his chance to even the record at 1-1. Emboldened by some of the biggest wins in Cardinal history, he spent the entire week talking trash. I could only respond with the possibility of The Play II. Cal wasn’t supposed to win. Jahvid Best was out after a stadium-silencing fall against Oregon State. Stanford was surging with Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck. The Cardinal had just totaled over 100 points against top-15 teams in Oregon and USC, rolling along with Rose Bowl hype. Few thought the Bears had a chance; I certainly didn’t.
The actual game started and I stood behind the end zone, watching wrecking ball Toby Gerhart give Stanford a 14-0 lead. Vince D’Amato chipped in a 21-yarder after the Bears wasted a 1st-and-goal at the 2. Then, Shane Vereen scored. Again. And again. But even his absurd 42-carry, 193-yard performance wasn’t enough to keep Cal out of danger. Gerhart churned down the field with two minutes left, ready to rescue his team from a 34-28 deficit. I was about 20 yards away from Mike Mohamed when he snagged Luck’s pass. I rushed the field. I called my friend. He hung up. It was the greatest football game I’ve ever watched. —Jack Wang
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Saturday, November 20, 2010
BIG GAME The Daily Californian
For Love of the BIG Game
have a special place in my heart for my first Big Game. It was in 2003 at the old Stanford Stadium, and the urgency was there. The Bears already upset USC that season, but needed one more win to be bowl-eligible for the first time in seven years. It was only two years into the Jeff Tedford era, and there seemed to be an emerging consensus that given time, the program could be transformed into one of national relevance. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers taking snaps, the future was incredibly bright.
As a bright-eyed, blue-and-gold bleeding seventh grader, I was awed by the amount of Cal fans in the stands and their tremendous pride. The cheering didn’t waver through the four fumbles in the first quarter, or Cal’s big zero on the scoreboard at halftime. There was a collective sentiment that the Bears would not go down. Behind Rodgers’ 359 passing yards and Geoff McArthur’s two scores, the Bears downed Stanford, 28-16. The crowd’s faith was rewarded — the “Bear Territory” and “We’ve got the
Axe” cheers never sounded sweeter than they did as the Cardinal fans left. The fight song was still ringing in my ears on Monday morning when my favorite teacher Mrs. Behrens, a Stanford alumna, lived up to her end of our wager. Draped in blue and gold with makeshift pom-poms, she danced to the song in front of the class. It wasn’t pretty either, but it made me proud to be a Cal fan. Win or lose, that’s what the best Big Games accomplish. —Christina Jones
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ou know it’s Big Game Week when all hell breaks loose. As a freshman, this is my first Big Game, my first taste of the rivalry, my first glimpse of collegiate football at its finest. However, while I may be only a few days into this beloved Cal tradition, I already feel as if I’ve experienced the excitement all my life. Football is America’s true pastime. It’s the perfect blend of athletic prowess, carefully executed violence and over-grilled stadium dogs. It’s a sport founded on playbooks and perseverance, upsets and landslide victories. It’s an ancient world of intricate team loyalties — and rivalries. Football is more than a simple game; it’s an emotion, a commitment, a lifestyle. There might be subtle laws governing the fate of every game. But for the Cal/Stanford match-up, everything goes out the window. The Big Game is never about rankings or records. The only thing that
matters is how badly each team wants to win. This game is always a toss-up, full of limitless passion and miracle fourth-quarter comebacks. The Big Game is the ultimate wild card of collegiate sports, with a manhandled axe as its prize. It’s a dream come true to lay claim to this illustrious match-up and to become a part of this history that is continually predicted and rewritten. In the past week alone I’ve passed out more flyers, worn more blue and gold, learned more about tradition and talked more sports lingo than I ever have before. And I’ve loved every minute of it. The rest of the world can try to calculate the outcome. But come Saturday afternoon, with the deafening sound of fans from both sides of the Bay ringing throughout Memorial Stadium, Cal fans will know who the true winners are. It’s Big Game Week, kids. Are you prepared? —Annie Gerlach
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10 Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
Mike Mohamed made the interception of a lifetime to seal last year’s Big Game. It was simply the latest moment in a career full of timely plays.
by Ed Yevelev
Daily Cal Staff Writer
sked what it’s like to play alongside Mike Mohamed, fellow Cal linebacker D.J. Holt responded quickly. “You’re just relaxed,” Holt says. “I’m relaxed, everybody’s relaxed.” Yet, even his heart “stopped for a second” last November at Stanford Stadium. Clinging to a slim 34-28 advantage, the Bears had just let the Cardinal to reel off 49 yards with incredible ease. In five plays, Stanford’s offense was perched inside the Bears’ red zone, and only a minute and a half remained. Mohamed was last seen clinging to — and falling off of — eventual Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart, who had just rumbled down the left sideline for a 29-yard catch and run. The final 13 yards looked to be but a formality. Until Mohamed reappeared. Andrew Luck threw over the middle — unware of the lurking linebacker, who extended himself and snatched the ball out of the air. Mohamed singlehandedly set off a sigh of relief heard across Cal faithful everywhere. “I just knew if someone didn’t make a play, they would have scored,” Mohamed says. “I would have never forgiven myself if we ended up losing ... My guy stayed in, so that left really me as a free dropper. He threw it right to me and I just snagged it.” That interception, along with the ensuing kneel-down, sealed a Big Game thriller for the ages. It also epitomized Mohamed’s role as the intelligent, instinctive leader of Cal’s defense. “You see him on the street, you think he’s just a regular guy,” Holt says. “Any given day, you never know. (He) is always there in position to make a play ... at the right spot at the right time.” ohamed’s self-proclaimed “arrival” as a Cal football player involved another dynamic interception — the very first of his career.
As a redshirt sophomore two years ago, the Brawley, Calif., native stared down and pounced on a tipped pass from UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft. With the football secured, Mohamed sprinted the remaining 19 yards before lunging towards the right pylon. For Cal, his highlight play blew open what had been two-touchdown contest in the fourth quarter. For Mohamed, it capped off a then-career high nine-tackle performance — and set off a lightbulb in his head. “I just realized that ‘Hey, I can do this, I can be a major contributor to the team,’” Mohamed says. “After that game, everything really just started to click ... I’m here to be one of the regulars, one of the playmakers on the team.” And contribute he would. Playing alongside senior stalwarts in Zack Follett, Anthony Felder and Worrell Williams, he finished tied for second on the team in tackles in 2008. Mohamed racked up 87 despite often coming off the bench as a fourth linebacker in Cal’s 3-4 scheme. All the while, he continued showing off his ability to drop back and read opposing signal-callers. It was a craft that earned him extra playing time as a redshirt freshman, and a place in program lore just two years later. Though fans may not remember it, Mohamed got his hands on a pass in the 2008 Big Game, as well — stepping in front of an ill-timed throw by Tavita Pritchard. Two games later, in the Emerald Bowl, Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was his victim. “(Mohamed is) pretty methodical in his preparation, kind of like he approaches school,” Bears’ linebackers coach Kenwick Thompson says. “He studies, spends a lot of time studying the film, and then when its game time he does what he needs to do. “He can be on the spot when the receiver’s gonna be there, and that’s why sometimes quarterbacks don’t see him, because when they look he
>> mohamed: Page 12
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
This may be Shane Vereen’s first full season as a starter, but Cal’s tailback has been ready since the day he set foot on campus.
Give Me the Green Light by Jack Wang
Daily Cal Staff Writer
t’s a Saturday in the fall of 2007, and Shane Vereen is running stick routes on the sideline. He can’t bear to sit right now, even if doesn’t have the slightest chance of stepping onto the field. The game is blurring by. Step, step, step, stop. The Cal football team’s star tailback was redshirting that season, still two years away from becoming one of the best in the country. Jahvid Best hadn’t tumbled over that Oregon State defender yet. Those 42 carries at Stanford Stadium hadn’t happened. But through all that time, he was always ready. o player ever wants to sit out, but Vereen was the fifth-best back in his class — Rivals.com ranked him even ahead of Best, whom it slotted at No. 9. He’d prepared to come in ready to play, because that’s what Cal running backs are expected to do. He didn’t end up earning that right because the Bears were already set with Justin Forsett, now playing for the Seattle Seahawks. Best was picked for the remaining carries, and Vereen was stuck with watching, studying, learning. Don’t get it wrong; he was never jealous or bitter. Vereen, after all, is about the most unassuming, low-key star you can imagine. But not being able to play football for the first time ever started to eat at him all the same. And while Vereen was, even then, too much of a complete team player to complain, his teammates could tell. “I guess I can’t really describe it,” says quarterback Brock Mansion, who shared a redshirt season with Vereen. “There was just something that, you could just tell he was itching to get out there. If they gave him even a pair of lineman pads, he’d go out there in someone else’s pads.” So could his brother. “He never spoke of it directly, but I could tell that he was frustrated … Really, you could just hear it in his voice,” says Brock Vereen, now a freshman cornerback at Minnesota who shares a phone call with Shane within two hours after every game. ereen found out he would redshirt about three or four weeks into that season. It’s something he now continuously credits as a crucial part of his development, but these sorts of things are never easy to hear “He was very upset,” running backs coach Ron Gould says. “And the thing I asked him to do, I said ‘Shane, there are days you’re gonna feel good about redshirting. There are days you’re not gonna feel good. The thing I want to ask you to do is, the days that you aren’t feeling good, to come in and talk to me and let me know.’” It wasn’t every day, but there were some when the spectator role just didn’t feel quite right to him. When he needed to, he spilled to his positions coach, telling him exactly how he felt. “I was so proud of him … I really
appreciated that,” Gould says. “It took a more mature person to be able to come and talk to their coach in that fashion. Most kids would have shied away. He didn’t do that. He did exactly what I asked him to do.” He still does. he coming out party was scheduled for Nov. 21, 2009. Looking back, people should’ve known. With Best out, the Big Game talk had been centered around the brilliance of Stanford’s Heisman candidate, Toby Gerhart. But Vereen never was that much different from Best. A split second slower, an extra half-yard stronger. Either way, it was exactly what Cal needed to pull off the 34-28 stunner. As good as Gerhart was, Vereen was better. 193 yards. Three touchdowns. And of course, every single one of the 42, leg-numbing carries that had him on crutches the next day. Career highs, the lot of them. “After the game, I pretty much crashed. I didn’t realize I carried the ball that many times until somebody told me after the game,” Vereen says. “I was just so into the game, so into how things were in the game.” Now, through the most starkly inconsistent season of coach Jeff Tedford’s nine-year tenure, Vereen held strong as the team’s rock. He’s averaging 99.8 yards per game, second in the Pac-10 and easily on pace to hit the 1,000-yard milestone he barely missed a year ago — starting only four games. He’s a workhorse in every
>> Vereen: Page 12
12 Saturday, November 20, 2010
The Daily Californian
Mohamed: Linebacker Embraces Leadership Role from Page 10
isn’t there.” The following fall, he had no choice but to become more visible. Cal’s vaunted linebacking triumvirate had left. It was Mohamed’s turn to step into the spotlight. That segue into a full-time starting role would take some time, as coaches moved Mohamed to the outside in 2009 in hopes of molding him into a pass-rusher. But he eventually settled back to his original position on the inside. “I knew with the other guys going, that I would have to step my game up a little bit more, be a little bit more of a producer of the defense,” Mohamed says. “It was also a lot of fun, just being in there every play, really being a staple of the defense. “Just being on the inside allowed me to kind of be more of a leader, more of a voice, more on the inside of everything.” That switch back allowed Mohamed to fully utilize his knowledge of the game and his trademark instincts. In quarterbacking Cal’s defense with Holt, Mohamed would be in charge of everything from receiving sideline calls, to anticipating opponents’ formations and making requisite adjustments at the line of scrimmage. After making a living out of being in the right place, he is now in charge of making sure others do the same. For a player not known to be extremely vocal, his knowledge, experience and responsibility are what speak loudest. “(He’s) expressing the importance of guys doing their job,” Thompson says. “It shouldn’t matter the time
of the game, every game is just as important. Understanding that doing your job will put you into the position of making a play. “I think he understood that and that’s what allowed him to make that play (at Stanford) ... knowing his job and doing his job.” hen Mohamed wasn’t fielding questions, he was biting down furiously. As he sat for his interview at Memorial Stadium, Mohamed took time between answers to gnaw and loosen the sizable layers of white bandages on his left hand. He has carried that protective club since breaking his thumb against Oregon State three weeks ago. It was just one of the injuries he has battled (and decorations he has adorned) during his final campaign in Berkeley. Early this fall, a sprained big toe forced Mohamed out of the Nevada game, and the defensive outing in Reno certainly resembled an orchestra that was missing its conductor. Fast forward to last Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Against Oregon’s deadly efficient spread attack, the unit was humming flawlessly under the direction of its leader. Mohamed flew all over the field, recording a career-high 16 tackles, including a sack. If the defense delivers a similar performance against the Cardinal this afternooon, expect to see Mohamed in the middle of the action. In the right place, at the right time once again.
VEREEN: Tailback Now
Cal’s Security Blanket from page 11
Ed Yevelev covers football. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tailback Shane Vereen (left) and linebacker Mike Mohamed were two of the most instrumental figures in Cal’s surprise upset of Stanford last season. Vereen rushed for almost 200 yards in the contest, and Mohamed sealed the victory with a late interception.
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sense of the word. Some things are still the same as they were in 2007. After all, he was always more a partner than a sidekick in the running game. (“I never viewed him as a backup. He’s never acted like a backup,” Gould says.) He attends meetings just as he did while redshirting, studying film and running through mental game scenarios. He warms up for every game the same way he always has. Nothing spectacular — the standard stretches and a pre-game session with Lil Wayne on his iPod Shuffle. Some things are different. He’s the heart and soul of the team now. He doesn’t have quarterback Kevin Riley, whose career ended with a knee injury at Oregon State. Instead, it’s Mansion who will be making his first Big Game appearance, plenty grateful that Vereen is never too far away. “I can’t tell you how awesome it is knowing that you can look to your right or look to your left or look behind you and this guy’s gonna be wherever I need him to be,” Mansion says. “This guy’s gonna stick wherever it needs to be stuck.” After the game in Corvallis, Ore., three weeks ago, Mansion talked to his girlfriend, reflecting on the first significant game action of his career. It was an uneven showing, a dazed backup completing 14-of-24 passes in a 35-7 blowout loss. He did learn at least one thing. “Baby, you have no idea how fun it is to play with Shane.”
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November 20, 2010
The Stanford Daily
BCS hopes are on the line for Stanford, while Cal tries for bowl eligibility and third straight Big Game win By KABIR SAWHNEY MANAGING EDITOR
With the 113th Big Game set for kickoff today, the stakes could not be higher for either team. The No. 6 Stanford football team is experiencing some of its greatest success in recent memory. The Cardinal (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10) has its best record through 10 games in 59 years, and is shooting for the program’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 2000. Stanford managed to survive a scare on the road at Arizona State last weekend, managing to pull off a 17-13 win despite a weak rushing attack. Across the Bay, California (5-5, 3-4) has had a roller coaster ride of a season thus far. The Golden Bears have been one of the nation’s more puzzling teams, since they look nearly unstoppable inside Strawberry Canyon but utterly hapless away from it. Cal has won every one of its home games by blowout
margins, except for last weekend’s close 15-13 loss to No. 1 Oregon. Even then, the Bears managed to do what no other team, including the Cardinal, could do: slow down the Ducks and keep them from rolling up video gamelike numbers on offense. Meanwhile, they have lost every road game except for a 2013 victory at Washington State two weeks ago. This Big Game will have significant bowl implications for both Stanford and Cal. The Cardinal still has hopes for an invitation to a prestigious BCS bowl, but would see those hopes extinguished with a loss to Cal. Stanford’s best chance is to receive an at-large berth, since the Pac10’s automatic berth will go to Oregon if it wins the conference. Officials from the Rose Bowl were present at Stanford’s last home game against then-No. 15 Arizona, and Sugar Bowl representatives made the trip to Tempe last weekend to see the Card take on the Sun Devils.
Please see PREVIEW, page 6
PREDICTIONS SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily
THE SEASON SO FAR By KABIR SAWHNEY MANAGING EDITOR
With only two games left in Stanford’s historic season, including today’s game against rival Cal, it’s worth taking a look back and seeing how the Cardinal got to its current position. Stanford enters today’s game with a 9-1 overall record, including a 6-1 record against Pac-10 Conference opponents. Stanford has its best record through 10 games since 1951, its first season under Chuck Taylor. The Card’s only loss came on Oct. 2 in Eugene, Ore., where it fell 52-31 to an Oregon team that has since risen to No. 1 in the BCS standings. Stanford’s signature win came on Nov. 6 at home, where it defeated then-No. 15 Arizona, 42-17. The Cardinal enters this weekend at No. 6 in the BCS standings; it was No. 12 in the original BCS standings, first calculated in the season’s eighth week. Stanford was just outside the AP Top 25
Please see SEASON, page 8
No. 6 Stanford (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10) at California (5-5, 3-4 Pac-10) KABIR SAWHNEY STANFORD 26, CAL 14: Unfortunately for Stanford, this game will be held in Berkeley, where the Golden Bears have played like possessed men. Cal’s defense won’t have as much success as it did against Oregon, but the Cardinal won’t score 35+ points. However, Brock Mansion is even worse than Kevin Riley, and behind him, Cal will be able to do little offensive damage against Stanford’s reinvented defense.
is a tale of two teams. The one that plays on the road is 1-4, while the one that plays at home is 4-1. Stanford should win, albeit in a nail-biter,
ZACH ZIMMERMAN STANFORD 40, CAL 14: Cal will be a
but the Golden Bears present a trap unlike any that the Cardinal has faced this season.
scary team coming off a heartbreaking loss to Oregon. Stanford looks more vulnerable than ever, but the Cardinal is just too good. Stanford takes back the Axe.
NATE ADAMS STANFORD 31, CAL 17: Both teams
JACOB JAFFE STANFORD 34, CAL 21: On paper, Stanford is a far better team than Cal. But football isn’t played on paper, and rivalry games have a way of bringing out the best in some teams. Stanford is every bit as motivated as Cal to put up a strong performance, for revenge, bowl position and, of course, the rivalry. Despite a few big plays, the Golden Bears won’t have enough offense to keep up with Stanford’s high-powered attack.
WYNDAM MAKOWSKY STANFORD 17, CAL 14: Cal’s season
will be hungry for points after scoring in the teens last weekend, but it will be Stanford that jumps out ahead thanks to an overpowering offensive line that gives balanced options to a talented quarterback. Cal might hang tough in its effort for a sixth win, and its young quarterback, Brock Mansion, will show some spark. But it will be Andrew Luck, Stepfan Taylor and company standing victorious in Memorial Stadium.
DANIEL BOHM STANFORD 24, CAL 10: This is the biggest Big Game Stanford has played in eons. After last week’s lackluster performance, Jim Harbaugh will have his players ready against a very talented Cal team. The Golden Bears’ de-
fense can give Stanford’s offense some trouble, but I just can’t see Cal’s Brock Mansion-led offense doing enough to retain the Axe.
CAROLINE CASELLI STANFORD 34, CAL 24: After narrowly losing to No. 1 Oregon last weekend, with its defense notably holding the nation’s top-scoring offense to 15 points, the Bears showed yet again that home-field advantage is a huge factor in their success (or failure). With the offensive prowess of Andrew Luck and his arsenal , combined with Owen Marecic’s awesomeness, and the much-improved Stanford defense, the Axe will return to its rightful home on the Farm.
MARGARET RAWSON STANFORD 24, CAL 17: The Golden Bears will have home-field advantage, but the Axe is coming back to Stanford. Cal performed well last weekend against Oregon, but showed the extent of what it can accomplish against a top team. The outcome may be close, but Andrew Luck will lead the Cardinal to victory.
2 Friday, November 20, 2010
HEISMAN CALIBER LUCK CAPABLE OF WINNING PRESTIGIOUS TROPHY
By LIZZY COLLINS
race are James and Moore. James is the nation’s leading The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outrusher and an explosive tailback for top-ranked Oregon. standing college football player, and, for the secMoore, the top-rated passer in the country and the leader of ond year in a row, a Stanford player is among the No. 4 Boise State, has gained great recognition for his precitop contenders. Redshirt sophomore Andrew sion and poise on the playing field. Luck is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, and But Luck’s contribution to the Stanford football team is while his performance this season has made him eligible for just as noteworthy. Leading the Cardinal to a record of 17college football’s most esteemed prize, his competition is 5 in games he has started over the past two years, Luck is fierce. the main reason for his Luck, quarterback of the team’s success. Luck, without No. 6 Stanford football team, the help of star player and is definitely in the race to win former Stanford running the Heisman. However, acback Toby Gerhart, has led cording to football analysts, Stanford to its best start and the road ahead is steep. Over highest ranking in almost half the course of the 2010 season, a century. Auburn quarterback Cam “None of this is happening Newton, Boise State quarterwithout Andrew Luck,” said back Kellen Moore and Orehead coach Jim Harbaugh. gon tailback LaMichael Making the jump to the James have distinguished first tier is not impossible. If themselves and are currently Stanford wins its final two the leading candidates for the games and Luck plays his best Heisman. football, then the opportunity “You have the top three, to bring home the Heisman and (Luck) is probably at the would appear tangible. He is top of the second tier,” said in a tough position and will Chris Huston on his website, have to deliver flawless and HeismanPundit.com. remarkable performances Stats play a major role in over the next two weeks in determining the skill of a order to contend for the Heisplayer, and, though Luck’s man Trophy, but the understats are impressive, they are taking is doable. not phenomenal. Luck has “He’s not having the most thrown 22 touchdowns and Heisman-worthy season staseven interceptions on the tistically,” ESPN analyst Rece season, but he is in fourth Davis told ESPN.com. “But, place because his numbers that doesn’t change my belief lack the “wow” effect. that he’s the most complete Currently at the top of the quarterback in college footHeisman trophy race is Newball.” ton, the leader of No. 2 Andrew Luck deserves acAuburn. At 6-foot-6, 250 colades for his achievements pounds, Newton is arguably this season. His chance of winthe most talented and dangerning the Heisman Trophy is ous player in college football, slim, but he is certainly worthy although allegations of imof remaining in the conversapropriety during his recruittion for college football’s most ment out of junior college prestigious award. may take him out of the running. For now, he remains the Contact Lizzy Collins at collins leader of the pack. SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily firstname.lastname@example.org. Also atop the Heisman
POSTSEASON HOPES STANFORD COULD END UP IN ROSE BOWL, ALAMO BOWL OR OTHER BCS By JACOB JAFFE DEPUTY EDITOR
For nearly a decade, Stanford football spent the holidays recovering with family and watching bowl games on television. Now, the No. 6 Cardinal is closing out its second consecutive winning season, and a bowl berth is merely a formality. Bowl placement, though, is far from a formality, and with two games to play, Stanford’s bowl fate has yet to be decided. Upcoming contests against California and Oregon State will go a long way toward determining the Cardinal’s bowl destination, but the final decision could rest in the hands of outsiders. With that in mind, here are possible bowl scenarios for Stanford football, along with the likelihood of each, going from most to least likely. Rose Bowl The Granddaddy of Them All is the aspiration for most Cardinal fans, and it becomes more and more likely with each passing week. Scenario: Stanford would need to beat both Cal and Oregon State, and then get some help, in order to spend New Year’s in Pasadena. If No. 1 Oregon lost both of its remaining contests (vs. No. 22 Arizona
The Stanford Daily Gameday
and at Oregon State), the Cardinal would be the outright Pac-10 champion, and therefore get a spot in the Rose Bowl (assuming Stanford does not finish in the top two in the final BCS standings). A more likely scenario involves the Cardinal entering the Rose Bowl as an atlarge BCS selection. The only way this can happen is if Oregon is playing for the national title, leaving a spot open for Stanford. BCS rules require the Rose Bowl to take a qualified school from outside the BCS conferences if one is available, meaning No. 3 TCU or No. 4 Boise State would have to get in ahead of Stanford. The chance for the Cardinal is if TCU or Boise State is in the national title game against Oregon, the Rose Bowl will be free to select Stanford to take on the Big 10 representative. This would happen if No. 2 Auburn loses one of its final two contests (at No. 11 Alabama and vs. No. 17 South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game), which is a distinct possibility. Likelihood: As unlikely as it seemed a few weeks ago, the Rose Bowl is now a very good possibility for Stanford, as long as the Cardinal doesn’t trip up against the Golden Bears or Beavers. Most experts expect Auburn to struggle against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and a loss there would put either TCU or Boise State in the title game, making Stanford’s appearance in Pasadena almost assured.
Alamo Bowl If Stanford stumbles or is shut out of the BCS, it will likely head to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl. Scenario: A loss against Cal or Oregon State would eliminate the Cardinal from BCS contention, but the Cardinal could also get left out of a BCS game at 11-1. Stanford has the No. 2 spot in the Pac-10 all but locked up, and the best Pac-10 team that isn’t in a BCS game will play in the Alamo Bowl. Likelihood: Cal and Oregon State will not make things easy for Stanford, so a loss in either game is not out of the question. Also, if Auburn and Oregon win out, the Cardinal could very well be headed for Texas in December yet again. Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl With Stanford in the top 10 of the BCS standings, an at-large selection to a BCS bowl would appear to be a possibility, although this is where national perception comes into play. Scenario: If Stanford wins its next two games and the Cardinal doesn’t make the Rose Bowl or title game, an at-large spot in one of the other BCS games is up for grabs. The Cardinal’s on-field resume certainly qualifies it for a spot in a premier bowl game, but other factors might prevent Stanford’s selection. The Fiesta Bowl will choose the Big 12 champion
Please see BOWLS, page 6
A history of the Bay’s biggest football rivalry
n its 113-year history, there has always been far more at stake between cross-Bay rivals Stanford and California than just a wood chopping tool, but perhaps this year’s Big Game could be a critical one. Looking back at the history of the 112 games between the two, there have been some pretty important encounters, from the first ever game in 1892 to the return to normality after the Second World War. Over this time, the whole pageantry and lore of the rivalry also grew step by step. The Axe first appeared in 1899, but after being stolen by California for 31 years and subsequently recovered by Stanford, it wasn’t until 1933 that it became the official trophy of the Big Game. Oski made his first appearance in 1941, and, after Stanford dropped its original mascot in 1972, the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) debuted the Tree in 1975. After breaking from its saner roots, the LSJUMB also caused one of the most bizarre upsets at the end of a football game, now infamously known as “The Play,” in 1982. Rushing the field in celebration of a Cardinal victory a few seconds too early, they allowed Cal to score a game-winning touchdown amid the confusion. But, apart from historical curiosity, none of those necessarily hold special significance for the football teams, at least in the only thing that should really matter to them: success. To look for those games, we need to consider the relative form of the two sides in the eras the games were played, and see what the effect of wins, or losses, were. Basically, look for the games that were crucial turning points in the teams’ success. In the 1920s, Cal was on a high, not dropping a single game in a five-year streak that saw it win the 1921 Rose Bowl. Stanford, meanwhile, struggled, scoring just seven points against the Bears from 1920 to 1923, and by 1924, California had defeated the Cardinal in five straight games. But that year marked the beginning of Glenn “Pop” Warner’s tenure as Stanford coach, and his arrival secured both equality in the Big Game (a 20-20 tie) and the Pac-10 title. It also marked the beginning of the end for Cal’s dominance. Head coach Andy Smith signed off the next year with a loss, and his next two successors did not come close to his record. When Stub Allison came to Berkeley in 1935, Cal had won just once in the last 10 years. A hugely improved first season was marred by just one loss, 13-0 to Stanford, but turning this around in 1936, the Card would not score a single point against Cal for three years, years in which Berkeley won two Rose Bowls. Claude E. Thornhill’s Stanford swiftly went from winning the 1936 Rose Bowl to mediocrity. Clark Shaughnessy quickly enacted revenge in his very short period, just two years, in charge at the Farm. As Allison’s team began to falter, Shaughnessy set out on a formidable 10-0 Rose Bowl-winning 1940 season. For the next 30 years, the Cardinal returned to relative obscurity, and though the Golden Bears under Pappy Waldorf were strong in the late ‘40s, the lack of a strong cross-Bay rival takes some of the edge off of the importance of its victories in the Big Game back then. When Waldorf’s team slipped back in the ‘50s, it was in no way a consequence of any real Stanford resurgence in the Big Game. The same argument doesn’t hold in 1972. Then, Stanford had won back-to-back Rose Bowls, but had just lost its coach, John Ralston. It was a great opportunity for Cal to help break any momentum that the Cardinal may have built up, and that is exactly what it did. From this hastily researched version of history, the years 1924, 1936, 1940 and 1972 stand out as turning points where the Big Game result marked the resurgence of one team at the cost of the other, and 2009 was almost on this list. Stanford still had outside hopes of the Pac-10 title resting on winning its final conference game and a little bit of luck from elsewhere, and fans were excited by the chances of its star running-back, Toby Gerhart, scooping up the Heisman Trophy. The Card was guaranteed its first bowl game and winning record since 2001, and the Bears were looking at their seventh straight bowl game. The Cal victory put the brakes on Stanford’s much-improved season, and could have been even more significant were it not for this year. Stanford will walk on to the field at Memorial Stadium with a season record of 9-1 and a No. 6 BCS ranking that makes it a clear favorite to play in one of the highly prized BCS bowl games. Head coach Jim Harbaugh’s team has improved each year, and star quarterback Andrew Luck is in serious contention for the Heisman Trophy and will find it very hard to turn down a potential selection in the first round of the
Please see TAYLOR, page 6
The Stanford Daily GameDay
Friday, November 20, 2010 3
AROUND STANFORD SPORTS MEN’S WATER POLO
Driving for an MPSF title
By DASH DAVIDSON CONTRIBUTING WRITER
ZACK HOBERG/Staff Photographer
Redshirt freshman two-meter Brogan Miller goes for a shot. Stanford is ranked third in the nation and sits at third in the MPSF standings, with the conference tournament set for next weekend at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center.
The Stanford men’s water polo team is in the final stretch of what has, to this point, been a very successful regular season. The Cardinal (13-6, 5-2 MPSF) is currently in a tie for third place in the highly competitive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). After a nail-biting loss to No. 6 Pacific on Sunday afternoon at Avery Aquatic Center, Stanford’s national ranking of No. 3 is liable to slip just a little bit. This season has seen a fair share of ups and downs for the veteran Stanford squad, and the team’s maturity has definitely contributed to the cohesive level of success it has achieved in this topsy-turvy season.
Please see MWPOLO, page 4
BATTLES ON THE EAST COAST FIELD HOCKEY MAKES RUN TO NCAA TOURNEY BUT FALLS EARLY TO UNC By DANIEL BOHM DESK EDITOR
For the third time in four years, Stanford won the NorPac Tournament, won an NCAA Tournament play-in game and lost in the first round of the of the tournament to one of the nation’s best teams. The Cardinal (15-6, 5-1 NorPac) won the regular season league title and then defeated Longwood, Appalachian State and rival Cal to win the conference tournament. The NorPac Conference champion is not guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament field, but instead must win a play-in game to qualify. Stanford was sent east to take on Atlantic-10 champion Massachusetts (15-7, 7-0 Atlantic 10) for a shot at the field. In the play-in game in Amherst, Mass., the Cardinal extended its season-high win streak to six games with a 2-1 victory. Sophomore Kelsey Lloyd broke a 1-1 tie with a goal in the 44th minute. Stanford’s victory earned it a rematch with No. 2 North Carolina — the Cardinal lost to the Tar Heels 2-1 earlier in the season. This time around, North Carolina won, 3-1, after pulling out to an early 3-0 lead in the first half. Stanford’s only goal was a second-half strike from redshirt senior forward Kat Swank. The loss not only ended its season, but also moved Stanford to 0-10 all time in NCAA Tournament games. Still, this season will likely be seen as a success as Stanford defeated ranked teams (No. 8 Wake Forest, No. 18 Massachusetts)
Please see FHOCKEY, page 4 SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily
Junior Stephanie Byrne, left, ended the season in third on Stanford’s points list with 20. Stanford won the NorPac title with a victory over Cal in the conference tournament’s title game, the Card’s fourth consecutive title-game victory over the Golden Bears.
4 Friday, November 20, 2010
The Stanford Daily Gameday
NOV. 6: STANFORD DISMANTLES ARIZONA
Card sends message with rout of Wildcats By KABIR SAWHNEY MANAGING EDITOR
Originally published on Nov. 6 Playing at the center of the national stage, Stanford’s football team made a resounding statement on Saturday night. The No. 6 Cardinal (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10) defeated No. 18 Arizona (7-2, 4-2), unleashing offensive fireworks en route to a 42-17 victory. The win keeps Stanford in the discussion for a possible berth in the Rose Bowl or another BCS bowl. “We’re playing for a championship,” Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “That’s our goal — to get to the Rose Bowl and win a Pac-10 championship. That’s all we’re playing for.” The game featured two marquee quarterbacks in Stanford redshirt sophomore Andrew Luck and Arizona junior Nick Foles, leading some to expect the game to be an offensive shootout. Luck and the Stanford offense certainly fulfilled those expectations, tallying 510 yards, including 293 yards on 2332 passing from Luck. “We prepared ourselves for a shootout,” said junior defensive back Michael Thomas. “We had some goals in mind . . . if it came down to a shootout, we were prepared.” The Stanford offense set the tone early in the game, scoring a touchdown on a 45-yard strike from Luck to junior receiver Chris Owusu, who was streaking wide open down the left sideline. The score indicated that the Card would be able to move the ball at will against an overhyped Arizona defense. The Wildcats entered the game highly ranked in a number of defensive statistical categories. Arizona was seventh nationally in scoring defense, 10th in total defense and sixth in rushing defense and was recording almost 3.5 sacks per game. Stanford notched yardage marks well above Arizona’s season
averages, especially in the running game — Cardinal rushers rolled up 217 yards against a run defense that had previously surrendered an average of 88.4 yards per game. Sophomore running back Stepfan Taylor, while held to a relatively low 82 yards, scored four touchdowns. Stanford was able to move the ball against Arizona chiefly because it neutralized a Wildcat defensive line that features two of the best defensive ends in the conference, Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed. The Stanford offensive line contained both players all night, surrendering no sacks and giving Luck plenty of time to allow his receivers’ routes to develop and make plays. Elmore and Reed each had just one tackle on the night. “I think our line took it personally, and they were excited about going against the best ends in the conference,” Harbaugh said. “Our guys wanted to prove something as well. More so than any other week, I think they had a mindset of proving something tonight.” In the receiving game, Owusu led all receivers for both Stanford and Arizona, hauling in nine catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. “Chris had a wonderful evening,” Harbaugh said. “He had a big play to get our first points on the board. He did a double move, made it at about 16 yards, and then got about 10 yards of separation.” Owusu also made a diving catch to preserve a Stanford drive early in the fourth quarter. He dived forward to gain a little separation from two Arizona defensive backs and kept his hands under the ball to preserve the completion. “That might be the best catch I’ve ever seen in person from the sideline,” Harbaugh said. “I thought that was an unbelievable catch.” While Stanford’s offense moved easily against an exposed Arizona defense, the
JONATHAN YORK/The Stanford Daily
Junior receiver Chris Owusu had a strong game against Arizona, grabbing nine catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. He has been plagued by injury all season, missing last week’s game. Stanford defense continued to play well. After a string of rough outings, the Card bounced back last week, shutting out Washington on the road. Facing an elite quarterback in Foles, the Cardinal rose to the challenge again, severely limiting the Wildcat offense. Despite rolling up 428 yards, Arizona only mustered 17 points. Stanford’s defense also played well in the clutch. Though Arizona looked good on the stat sheet in piling up yards, it went just 7-16 on third-down conversions and 1-3 on fourth-down conversions. The Cardinal de-
fense also played well in the red zone — the Wildcats only converted three of five red zone opportunities. Stanford killed three Arizona drives with clutch plays — one drive ended in an interception by senior cornerback Richard Sherman, one with a fourth-down pass deflection on the Stanford five-yard line by redshirt junior linebacker Thomas Keiser and one on an intentional grounding from Foles as he was being sacked for a big loss by sophomore line-
fenders Heather Alcorn and Camille Gandhi and midfielder and the team’s second-leading scorer Xanthe Travlos. There are a number of bright spots returning to next year’s squad, namely sophomore Becky Dru, who led the team in scoring with 13 goals and 10 assists this season. Also back will be the team’s third-leading scorer, junior forward Stephanie Byrne.
Continued from page 3 and ended the year as conference champions. It also showed that field hockey is not just an East Coast sport — Stanford also forced national power Syracuse to overtime and lost a close game to Michigan State. Stanford will, however, lose three starters to graduation: de-
MWPOLO Continued from page 3 The beginning of the school year brought two tournaments — the NorCal and SoCal Invitationals — which annually kickstart the water polo season into gear. Stanford struggled at both of these tournaments, uncharacteristic given its normally strong tournament play. The Cardinal finished fourth at the NorCal and sixth at the SoCal. Both tournaments ended with losses to rival California. Just after the Cardinal’s second loss to Cal at the SoCal Invitational on Oct. 3, Stanford achieved its biggest win of the season, at home against USC. The Trojans entered as the No. 1 team in the land and were in the midst of two winning streaks — 18 straight victories overall and 17 in a row against Stanford. Meanwhile, the Cardinal was reeling after its tough outings at the invitationals, but was at home for the first time all season. Stanford redshirt junior
Please see ARIZONA, page 7
Contact Daniel Bohm at bohmd@ stanford.edu.
goalie Brian Pingree had a coming-out party in that game, and Stanford ended up winning, 5-3, dethroning USC and buoying itself back into the top five in the national rankings. For his efforts, Pingree was named the MPSF player of the week. At that point in the season, the Cardinal was 6-4, with its year marked by inconsistency. Since the win over USC, the Cardinal has gone 7-2, playing cohesively and in a clutch manner, with several impressive victories over tough foes. The USC game was definitively the hinge upon which the Stanford men’s water polo season has pivoted — from mediocre to excellent. Stanford will start its postseason after Thanksgiving, at the MPSF Tournament. If Stanford defeats Cal on Nov. 19 in Berkeley, which came after this newspaper went to press, it could position itself well for a high seed. The tournament will take place on Nov. 26-28 at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center. Contact Dash Davidson at dashd@ stanford.edu.
The Stanford Daily GameDay
PRESSING TOWARD THE NCAA TITLE GAME
Friday, November 20, 2010 5
FIRST CRACK AT CHAMPIONSHIP NO. 100
SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily
SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily
The No. 1 Stanford women’s soccer team is currently vying for a title in the NCAA Tournament. Senior forward Christen Press, above, won Pac-10 player of the year after tallying 23 goals.
With the NCAA Championships set for this Monday in Indiana, both Stanford cross country teams will be contenders. A win would secure Stanford’s 100th overall NCAA team title.
PRIMED FOR THE POSTSEASON
SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily
Freshman defender Mary Ellen Luck, No. 20, goes for a dig. Currently ranked at No. 2 in the nation, Stanford has a good chance to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Senior libero Gabi Ailes, No. 9, leads the team in digs and will be key to a title run.
6 Friday, November 20, 2010
The Stanford Daily Gameday
Continued from front page
PREVIEW| 113th Big Game With a win over Stanford, the Golden Bears will gain bowl eligibility and be guaranteed another trip to the postseason. Cal could even get into one of the bowls higher in the Pac-10’s pecking order due to the dearth of bowl-eligible teams in the conference this season. However, even if Cal falls to Stanford, it still has a strong chance to earn bowl eligibility, with a home game against Washington to close out its season next weekend. After its lackluster performance last weekend, the focus will be squarely on the Stanford offense to reach the same level that it achieved against Arizona and Washington, when it scored over 40 points in each game. Led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck, the unit only mustered 17 points against the Sun Devils and committed two turnovers, one on an interception and the other on a Luck fumble. Despite those miscues, Luck had another strong game against the Arizona State secondary, throwing for 292 yards on 33-41 passing. He leads the conference in passing efficiency with a 159.7 rating and in total yardage (running and passing) with 288.4 yards per game. The biggest reason for Stanford’s struggles against ASU was its failure to get its running game going early in the contest. The Cardinal offense has relied on the run all season to set the pace for the offense, utilizing the offensive line to dominate at the line of scrimmage and open up running lanes for Stanford’s talented rotation of tailbacks. Forcing opponents to respect the run also opened up the passing attack for Luck and his receivers. The Sun Devil front seven provided a blueprint for stopping that dimension of Stanford’s offense, as linebacker Vontaze Burfict and the rest of his unit established control of the line of scrimmage early in the game. Stanford sophomore Stepfan Taylor, the featured back in Stanford’s offense, was severely limited, going for only 39 yards on 16 carries. Overall, Stanford rushed 42 times for just 128 yards, a 3.0 yards-
per-carry average. That blueprint for stopping the Card is certainly one that the Bears could be capable of executing. Cal used a similar game plan to limit Oregon, and has a stud linebacker of its own in Mike Mohamed, who is 10th in the conference with 7.7 tackles per game. Against Oregon, Cal did a good job of stuffing the run, only giving up 162 yards on 55 carries, good for a measly 2.9 yards-per-carry average. The Bears’ defense has also been spectacular at home; the highest point total it has surrendered in Memorial Stadium is 17, to Arizona State, and it held three of its five home foes (including Arizona) to singledigit points. However, Cal is vulnerable on offense after losing starting quarterback Kevin Riley to injury for the season. In two starts, backup Brock Mansion has looked fairly underwhelming, throwing two picks in a 12-24, 171-yard performance in his first outing against lowly Washington State. Against the Ducks, Mansion completed only 10 of 28 passes for 69 yards, and added -1 yards on two rushes. The Golden Bears do have a respectable rushing attack, led by running back Shane Vereen, who is averaging nearly 100 yards per game. Vereen has 13 touchdowns on the season and averages 5.2 yards per carry. Stanford fans will likely remember Vereen from last season’s Big Game at Stanford Stadium, when he gashed the Cardinal for 193 yards on 42 carries and scored three touchdowns, leading the Bears to a 34-28 victory. Stanford will need another strong performance from a defensive unit that has undergone a renaissance in recent weeks. Since giving up 28 points to Washington State on Oct. 23, the Cardinal has shut out Washington and held Arizona and Arizona State to 17 and 13 points, respectively. Though Stanford has not looked as good on the stat sheet, it has a propensity for making key plays and momentum-killing stops at critical points in the game. The defense has also dominated opposing
WHO TO WATCH
ANTHONY WILKERSON, RB, STANFORD NO. 32 True freshman has emerged as Stanford’s No. 2 back behind Stepfan Taylor. Led Stanford in rushing last weekend against Arizona State, taking 10 carries for 65 yards (a 6.5 yards per carry average). He will provide critical explosiveness for the Cardinal rushing attack.
SHAYNE SKOV, LB, STANFORD NO. 11 Sophomore inside linebacker anchors the Stanford front seven, helping it stuff opposing running backs. Leads Stanford with 62 tackles and is second with 4.5 sacks despite missing two games due to injury.
MIKE MOHAMED, LB, CAL NO. 18 Senior linebacker leads Cal defense with 69 tackles and was a key factor in holding Oregon to just 15 points last weekend. He had 16 tackles against the Ducks, including three tackles for loss, and should be the biggest threat to the Stanford running game.
offensive lines, especially with the play of senior linebacker Owen Marecic and sophomore linebacker Shayne Skov. The defensive line, led by redshirt junior Matt Masifilo, has also done a strong job of engaging opposing offensive lines and freeing up the linebacking corps to make plays. With postseason hopes on the line for both teams, Stanford will take on Cal in the 113th Big Game on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. Contact Kabir Sawhney at email@example.com.
Continued from page 2 NFL Draft to stay for two more years on the Farm. California, in comparison, sits at 5-5 in a thoroughly mid-table position and far outside the national top 25. A win against Stanford, though, would ensure the Golden Bears are again bowl eligible and also make Jeff Tedford the most successful Big Game coach ever, with eight wins. Success breeds success, and failure breeds failure. Cal fans will want the cruel glory of destroying the highflying aspirations of their rivals. Harbaugh will want to build on what he has achieved so far at the Farm to attract more talented players and create a golden era for the Cardinal football program. Today’s game could be a major step on that path, or when his best laid plans are pulled apart. California vs. Stanford 2010 is definitely a Big Game. Tom Taylor is really hoping that you’ll forget that he knows very little about American football. Educate him on the game’s finer points at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOWLS Continued from page 2 first, and because it has the last choice, will likely get stuck with the Big East champion, so Stanford will not play there. That leaves the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, which each have one spot open for an at-large entry. If Stanford somehow finishes in the top four of the final BCS standings, however, it is guaranteed a berth in a BCS bowl.
The Rose Bowl is a good possibility for Stanford.
STANFORD EDGES USC
Down to the final seconds By KABIR SAWHNEY
Likelihood: BCS bowls choose their participants in large part for monetary reasons, and Stanford has one of the smaller fan bases among top teams, meaning less money in ticket sales and tourism in the area. It is unlikely that either the Orange or Sugar would take the Cardinal for these reasons, unless (for example) the Sugar Bowl takes No. 5 LSU as the hometown team and decides to take a chance on Stanford.
Originally published on Oct. 9 Troy has officially fallen. The No. 14 Stanford football team hammered another nail into the coffin of onceproud USC on Saturday night, defeating the Trojans by a final score of 37-35. While the game ended in victory for the Cardinal (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10), that outcome was uncertain until the final few seconds of the game. Despite being a significant underdog, the Trojans (4-2, 1-2 Pac-10) played hard throughout the contest, matching the Stanford offense point for point behind quarterback Matt Barkley. Stanford eventually won the game on a lastsecond field goal from senior kicker Nate Whitaker, who drilled a kick from 30 yards out as time expired to send the Card to victory. Whitaker had earlier missed an extra point wide left, which might have proved decisive. “I had to make it,” Whitaker said of the final kick. “I had a chance to redeem myself, and I made it. I’m definitely glad I got a chance — it would have been a rough night otherwise. “This is the biggest kick I’ve ever had,” he added. “I couldn’t have done it without the team there, giving me that chance.” The win allowed Stanford to bounce back from a tough loss last weekend at then-No. 4 Oregon. The defeat saw the Cardinal lose its top-10 ranking and marked its first loss of the season. “We were definitely aware of our shortcomings last week,” said redshirt sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck. “We didn’t dwell on it, and we tried to improve upon it. This had to be our half — we can’t have another debacle like we did last weekend.” On the flip side, USC was deprived of a revenge opportunity for last season, when the
JONATHAN YORK/The Stanford Daily
Cardinal defeated the Trojans 55-21 in the Coliseum in Los Angeles. The two teams were fairly evenly matched throughout this game, with the offenses trading scores back and forth all night. USC drew first blood in the first quarter when, taking over after a Stanford punt, it put together an impressive drive behind a duo of running backs — senior Allen Bradford and freshman Dillon Baxter. Bradford provided the bulk of the carries for the Trojans, while Baxter served well as a secondary tailback primarily out of the “wildcat” formation — he scored the Trojans’ first touchdown of the game by knifing through the Stanford front seven virtually untouched on his way into the end zone. The Cardinal responded quickly, scoring a touchdown of its own on a pass from Luck to junior receiver Chris Owusu. The two teams continued to trade points and possession throughout the first half. Stanford squandered opportunities to pull ahead twice, as two fumbles deep inside USC territory cost it dearly. However, the Cardinal defense was also opportunistic, managing to force a fumble of its
own early in the second quarter that prevented the Trojans from adding to their tally. The score at halftime — a 14-14 draw — was indicative of the kind of close battle the teams were waging. Nevertheless, Luck saw room for improvement. “We were a little disappointed as a unit at halftime,” he said. “We had a couple of suicide plays, fumbling the ball. We had the motivation to come out and put points up on the board every time we went out there.” Stanford’s offense came out early in the third quarter and looked ready to dominate the rest of the game. After getting the ball back on a USC punt, the offense took the ball and pounded the Trojans with their power running game, scoring a touchdown on a long, 14-play drive that went 93 yards down the field. After a made extra point, Stanford took a 21-14 lead. USC’s offense took the field and responded in kind, scoring a quick touchdown on a 61-yard pass from Barkley to freshman receiver Robert Woods to knot the score at 21 apiece. Woods would eventually grab 12 receptions on the
Please see USC, page 7
Other Stanford is still theoretically alive for the BCS National Championship Game, and it could also finish as low as third in the Pac-10. Scenario: If complete and utter chaos hits the BCS, the Cardinal has a slight chance at a national title game appearance. If complete and utter chaos hits the Pac-10, the Cardinal could play in the Holiday Bowl. Neither is likely. To play in the biggest game of the year, Stanford would need four of the five teams ahead of it in the standings to lose (some maybe twice). The Cardinal is guaranteed at least second in the Pac-10, and therefore no worse than the Alamo Bowl, if it wins either of its remaining games or if Oregon State loses at least once. Likelihood: Almost none. Chaos has a way of infiltrating college football, but either scenario would be beyond insane. Contact Jacob Jaffe at email@example.com.
The Stanford Daily GameDay
USC Continued from page 6 night for 224 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first player in the country this year with over 200 yards receiving and at least three touchdowns. After another touchdown exchange, the score stood at 28-28 a few minutes into the fourth quarter. A huge kickoff return from Owusu to USC’s 12-yard line (with six more yards tacked on for a horse-collar penalty) gave Luck great field position. He did not disappoint, threading a pass to senior receiver Doug Baldwin in the end zone. Stanford went up 34-28 after Whitaker missed the extra point. With time running out, USC head coach Lane Kiffin elected to try to convert a fourth-and-10 at the Stanford 32-yard line. However, Barkley couldn’t complete his
pass, turning the ball over to the Cardinal on downs. Stanford looked ready to seal the game — another touchdown could have easily put it out of reach for USC. Instead, sophomore running back Stepfan Taylor, the main tailback in Stanford’s offense, fumbled the ball near midfield, and after a video review, officials confirmed that the ball belonged to USC. This time, Stanford’s defense couldn’t come up with a stop, and the Trojans went down the field and put another touchdown on the board courtesy of an Allen Bradford one-yard run. A converted extra point gave the Trojans a slim 35-34 lead. After a short Owusu kickoff return, the Cardinal took over on its own 26-yard line with 1:02 remaining in the game. Luck then engineered a quick-strike drive that went 62 yards in six plays, helped by a 15-yard personal foul on Trojan linebacker Chris Galippo. As the clock ran out, Whitaker nailed
Friday, November 20, 2010 7
BIG GAME the 30-yard field goal, giving Stanford the 37-35 win and sending the sellout crowd at Stanford Stadium into a delirium. “We felt like we could be game winners if we didn’t give in, if we didn’t quit,” Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “There were big hurdles and obstacles that had to be overcome, and to a man, everyone on our team did that.” With Stanford’s bye week coming up, Harbaugh said that he will give the Cardinal some time off. For Luck, it will just be more time to savor beating the Trojans. When asked whether it was more fun to beat USC at home or in Los Angeles, he laughed and replied, “That’s a good question . . . I’m not going to answer that one.”
Inspired Run, Tough Finish
— Alyssa London contributed to this report. Contact Kabir Sawhney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily
Redshirt senior forward Thiago Sa Freire goes for a shot. Stanford lost four straight games to start the season and never recovered, finishing 8-10 and out of the NCAA Tournament. The season ended with a 3-2 loss to Cal.
ARIZONA Continued from page 4 backers Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas. “Foles is a great quarterback, one of the best quarterbacks in the nation,” said junior safety Delano Howell. “It was great to play against one of the best.” Uncharacteristically, the secondary led Stanford on the stat sheet. Howell and Sherman had 11 and 10 tackles respectively, and Michael Thomas and senior safety Taylor Skaufel added six tackles apiece. The win over Arizona vaulted the Cardinal into the No. 6 spot in the BCS standings, up from No. 13 last week. The team is the secondhighest ranked one-loss team, behind No. 5 LSU. Stanford had the opportunity to impress a large number of poll voters during the primetime, nationally televised game. A BCS bowl game is no guarantee, however, even if the Cardinal manages to win out. There are many scenarios that could see Stanford in the Rose Bowl, a different BCS bowl or a lesser bowl, like the Alamo or
Holiday Bowl. Stanford’s apparent lack of significant fan support could be an obstacle in earning an at-large BCS bowl berth. Barring two losses by current Pac-10 leader Oregon, an at-large berth is the only way Stanford could get into the BCS. However, Stanford Stadium didn’t fill up anywhere near its capacity against Arizona. Significant chunks of the upper bowl were empty. When asked about the lack of fan support, Harbaugh said, “All we were really concerned about was coming in here and getting a win. We’ll keep coaching and playing — we’re not worried about anything else.” Harbaugh also addressed Stanford’s position in the polls. “I’m not a guy who concerns himself with polls and things like that,” Harbaugh said. “But, speaking on behalf of my guys and Stanford football, this is a one-loss team that’s only lost to the No. 1 ranked team in the country. It’s probably about time they got some recognition.” — Miles Bennett-Smith contributed to this report. Contact Kabir Sawhney at email@example.com.
8 Friday, November 20, 2010
SEASON Continued from front page in the preseason rankings, and it currently sits at No. 7 in that poll. To date, this Stanford team has been defined by its two brightest stars, head coach Jim Harbaugh and redshirt sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck. Harbaugh has taken the program to heights few thought possible when he first came to the Farm before the 2007 season, and he is often called the hottest coach in the country. Luck has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate and a potential No. 1 choice in next April’s NFL Draft, all while piling up big numbers against opposing secondaries. Before watching the Card take on the Golden Bears this afternoon, let’s take a look at Stanford’s games so far.
Sept. 4 vs. Sac State, W 52-17 Stanford opened its season at home against FCS Sacramento State and thoroughly dominated the Hornets, setting the tone for the rest of the season. With 529 total yards, including 316 passing yards and a career-high four touchdowns from Luck, Stanford’s offense showed why it was so hyped heading into the season. On defense, the Cardinal debuted its new scheme, imported from the NFL by firstyear defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and it worked extremely well as the Hornets were held to 167 total offensive yards. However, Stanford lost two key players to injury — starting tight end Levine Toilolo saw his season ended by an ACL tear, and senior running back Jeremy Stewart suffered an ankle injury that caused him to fall out of Stanford’s tailback rotation.
Sept. 11 at UCLA, W 35-0 This game was defined by Stanford’s defense, which shut out the Bruins’ much-hyped “Pistol” offensive scheme. The victory was also Stanford’s first in Pasadena since 1996. Stanford’s pass defense, which was considered its weakest point heading into the season, completely shut down the Bruins’ passing attack, allowing just 81 yards overall on 11-21 passing from two UCLA quarterbacks, Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut. The defense also forced four turnovers, on two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. The game was also noteworthy for the emergence of sophomore Stepfan Taylor as Stanford’s primary option at running back. Taylor took 20 carries in the game, while the next highest total from any back was just eight carries.
Sept. 18 vs. Wake Forest, W 68-24 Stanford’s second home game of the season saw it completely blow out the Demon Deacons, with its offense scoring more or less at will against a weak Wake Forest defense. Stanford scored a touchdown on its first eight possessions and scored 10 touchdowns overall (with two extra points missed by senior kicker Nate Whitaker). The Cardinal rolled up 535 yards of total offense, including 303 yards on the ground. Luck had a stellar game as well, throwing four touchdown passes and scoring himself on a 52yard quarterback scramble.
Sept. 25 at Notre Dame, W 37-14 Stanford’s victory over Notre Dame vaulted it into the national spotlight, since it was a nationally televised game against one of the nation’s most storied programs. The game was a showcase for Taylor, who took 28 carries for 108 yards against the Fighting Irish. Whitaker was also a big star for Stanford, kicking five field goals against his former team. However, the game’s biggest story was probably Stanford senior Owen Marecic, one of a very small number of players in major college football to play regularly on both offense and defense. Marecic scored two touchdowns in the game on consecutive plays, one on a one-yard touchdown run and the second on an interception returned for a score.
BIG GAME Stanford’s run defense was also stellar, holding the Irish to just 44 yards on 23 carries.
Oct. 2 at No. 4 Oregon, L 52-31 With both teams ranked in the top 10 and ESPN’s College GameDay crew in town, the Cardinal’s matchup with the Ducks in Eugene was easily one of Stanford’s biggest games in years. The game was billed as a de facto Pac-10 championship game, and the winner would put itself in the driver’s seat to the Rose Bowl. While Stanford jumped out to an early 21-3 lead in the first quarter, it couldn’t sustain its momentum against Oregon’s high-octane offense, and its defense finally cracked. While the Cardinal carried a 31-24 lead into the locker room at halftime, from there it was all Ducks, with Oregon scoring four touchdowns in the second half against no points from Stanford. Though Luck threw for 341 yards, he also threw two picks and was contained well by Oregon in the second half.
Oct. 9 vs. USC, W 37-35 Stanford’s game against rival Southern California certainly went down to the wire, as the Cardinal took the game on a field goal from Whitaker as time expired in the fourth quarter. The two offenses traded scores throughout the game, with USC quarterback Matt Barkley throwing for 390 yards and three touchdowns and Luck matching him with 285 passing yards and three touchdowns of his own. The game was a story of redemption for Whitaker; he missed the extra point on Stanford’s go-ahead touchdown with 9:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, but given a second chance with the game on the line and the Card facing a one-point deficit, he drilled the 30-yarder.
Oct. 23 vs. Washington St., W 38-28 While Stanford beat hapless Washington State as expected, the close final score made many Stanford fans nervous about their team’s prospects. Stanford looked sluggish and unmotivated on the field, with the offense never seeming to really get into a rhythm. The defense continued its string of shaky performances, giving up three fourth-quarter touchdowns to the Cougars. WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel made mincemeat of the Cardinal secondary, throwing for 298 yards and four touchdowns on 21-28 passing. The win did secure bowl eligibility for Stanford, while officially eliminating the Cougars from a postseason bid.
Oct. 30 at Washington, W 41-0 Stanford came out after the Washington State game and answered its critics with a dominating performance against the Huskies. Its offense continued its strong play, but the real story was Stanford’s defense, which held Washington quarterback Jake Locker to a mere 64 yards passing and one yard rushing and notched its second road shutout of a Pac-10 opponent this season. The Cardinal dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball; its offensive line opened up huge holes for the running game, which went for 278 yards on 47 carries, while Stanford defenders were constantly in the Washington backfield making life difficult for Locker and his running backs.
Nov. 6 vs. No. 15 Arizona, W 42-17 With the country watching on primetime television, Stanford engineered another dominating performance against a hyped Arizona team. The Wildcat defense, considered the best in the conference heading into the game, had no answer for Luck, Taylor and true freshman running back Anthony Wilkerson, who were able to consistently gain yardage and make plays against Arizona. On the line of scrimmage, the Stanford offensive line neutralized Arizona’s potential All-American defensive ends, giving up no sacks through the entire game. Meanwhile, on defense, the Cardinal didn’t stifle the Wildcats, but made key plays and forced big turnovers at critical junc-
tures in the game. Perhaps most tellingly, the Wildcats converted just three of five red zone opportunities and were 1-3 on fourth down.
Nov. 13 at Arizona State, W 17-13 Stanford certainly escaped a trap game against the Sun Devils, pulling out a win despite looking nothing like it had against Arizona. Many pundits had predicted a letdown throughout the week, and though Harbaugh insisted that his team would remain motivated, it
The Stanford Daily Gameday certainly looked for a little while like ASU was primed to pull the upset. Led by linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the Sun Devils were able to control the line of scrimmage on defense, making it difficult for the Stanford running game to gain any traction. With its rushing attack neutralized, the Card often found itself in third-and-long situations, and it showed on the score sheet. Nevertheless, the Stanford defense saved it from its second loss of the
season by making opportunistic plays and key stops against Sun Devil quarterback Steven Threet. So that’s Stanford’s season so far. With a 9-1 record, it will put its No. 6 national ranking and Rose Bowl hopes on the line today as it takes on the Golden Bears, further defining this historic season. Contact Kabir Sawhney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Combined issue, correctly oriented for easy reading. Produced by The Daily Californian and The Stanford Daily on Saturday, November 20, 201...