Stanford edged out Cal with a 17-14 victory, securing Stanford its eighth consecutive Big Game victory (the longest streak by either team in the 120-year history of Big Game). David Shaw also became the winningest coach in Stanford history, surpassing Pop Warner with his 72nd victory. Shaw also has more Big Game victories (8) than any other coach in Stanford history.
Now Stanford fans turn their attention to Notre Dame as well as to the rivalry game between Washington and Washington State. If Washington wins, Stanford will clinch the North and play USC in the Pac-12 Championship.
Stanford started the game with an impressive drive that included a clever trick play. K.J. Costello faked a fumble, caught the corners off guard, and found J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for a nice gain. Still, the team had to settle for a field goal.
Cal then responded with a field goal of their own after Patrick Laird ran through the Stanford defense, which became a recurring theme throughout the game. The Bears almost even took the lead on their next possession, but their field goal attempt bounced off the front of the crossbar.
The Cardinal then took advantage of the missed chance. Costello led the Cardinal down the field on a six-minute drive and finished it with a 17-yard touchdown completion to Kaden Smith.
On the ensuing drive, the Bears faked a punt and extended a drive that resulted in a field goal.
In the first half, the Bears bottled up Bryce Love and held him under control. Still, Costello stepped up, and the team led 10-6.
Bryce Love finally woke up on Stanford’s first possession of the second half. He found the open space and sprinted for a 57-yard touchdown.
Once again, however, Stanford’s defense failed to stop Patrick Laird, who finished with 153 yards on the day. The running back picked up a 39 yard gain and set up a Cal touchdown, and the Bears converted a two point conversation, making the score 17-14.
On Stanford’s next drive, every fan’s heart stopped. Bryce Love limped off the field, and Stanford’s lost their momentum on offense. The Cardinal missed a field goal, giving the Bears a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
Love ran for 101 yards by the time he came out, and even after coming out of the game, he was seen walking around the field on his own power.
With Love out, it looked like Cal would take control of the game. They found themselves in Stanford territory, but fortunately, Ben Edwards picked off Cal’s Ross Bowers, allowing the Cardinal to burn time off the clock.
The Cardinal got the ball with 7:25 left in the game, and without Bryce Love, Stanford had to drive down the field to end the game.
With 4th and 1, David Shaw faced a decision. To kick the field goal, or to seal the win. Needless to say, Cameron Scarlett leaped over the line of scrimmage. In fact, Stanford’s final drive that churned off a full 7:25 from the clock was nothing but Scarlett runs (11 consecutive Scarlett runs, to be exact). Stanford won 17-14.