Invincible Cardinal Crushes Cal, Brings Back the Axe

How do you like me now, Mike Mohamed?

Between the excellent writeup that California Golden Blogs posted within hours of Stanford's most lopsided Big Game win in 80 years and the countless other accounts you've likely read and relished over the last 24 hours, there really isn't much more to add about the Cardinal's 48-14 win.

Andrew Luck was brilliant, completing 16 of his 20 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a career-long 58-yard run that merits its own post a little later today. The redshirt sophomore averaged nearly 15 yards per completion and led scoring drives on every Stanford possession. Luck's performance was reminiscent of former Stanford great John Elway, who addressed the team before the game.

"He told us that he had no doubt that we (would) win," receiver Doug Baldwin said. "His confidence kind of fell off onto the rest of the team. We went out there and thought we were invincible."

Baldwin more than ably filled the void left by Chris Owusu, who sat out with an undisclosed injury. One week after catching a career-high 10 passes against Arizona State, Baldwin had five catches for 97 yards and a highlight-reel touchdown grab. Tight end Zach Ertz was on the receiving end of Luck's other touchdown pass.

The Cardinal rushed for 232 yards against the Pac-10's top-ranked defense. Luck led the way with 72 yards, while freshman Anthony Wilkerson had a game-high 18 carries for 62 yards. Stepfan Taylor did the dirty work in the red zone, rushing for three touchdowns to bring his season total to 14.

Stanford's defense was equally dominant against an overmatched quarterback making his third career start. Brock Mansion fumbled three times and threw two interceptions, including one by Richard Sherman deep in Stanford territory that led to the Cardinal's first touchdown.

Things got testy before the game, when Stanford's Jamal Rashad-Patterson was ejected for throwing a punch during a trash-talking session between both teams at midfield, and again after, when the Cal security staff used excessive force in an attempt to keep Stanford students from rushing the field.

We've got the Axe and we've got Oregon State next week. After that, who knows? The latest BCS standings will be released tonight.

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