Cal Football: Bears Beat Stanford 24-20, End 9-Game Losing Streak in Big Game

Cal's Christopher Brown Jr. scored Cal's first touchdownPhoto by Neville E Guard - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

Cal quarterback Chase Garbers ran 16 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:19 remaining to give the Bears a 24-20 victory over Stanford on Saturday, ending Cal's nine-game losing streak in the Big Game.

A 31-yard completion to Trevon Clark put the Bears (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12) in position for the score that Cal its first win over Stanford since 2009.

Cal then assured the win by stopping Cardinal running back Cameron Scarlett on a fourth-and-1 play from the Stanford 34-yard line with 41 seconds remaining at Stanford Stadium.

Cal is now bowl-eligible.

Cal  got a boost when Garbers was named the starting quarterback after being limited in practice all week. He was. 20-for-30 for 285 yards, and ran 16 yards for the winning touchdown.

Davis Mills was the starting quarterback for Stanford (4-7, 3-6) and he was 26-for-35 for 293 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

A 44-yard Ryan Sanborn field goal with 2:23 left at the end of a 39-yard drive put Stanford ahead 20-17.

Then Cal marched 75 yards for the winning score. The completion was the key play in the drive before Garbers scrambled on a second-and 10 goal from the 16-yard line. He found an opening on the left side and ran in for the score.

Stanford had taken a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter after a 22-yard punt by Cal's Steven Coutts gave the Cardinal the ball at the Cal 30-yard line. A 14-yard Mills completion to Simi Fehoko put the ball at the 1-yard line, and Cameron Scarlett scored from there to give Stanford the lead.

Cal tied it 17-17 on a five-play, 84-yard drive that ended on Garbers' 18-yard touchdown pass to Nikko Remigio. A pass interference call and a 40-yard completion to Remigio were the key plays in the drive, which ended with the tying touchdown with 7:44 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The first half ended tied 10-10, with both quarterbacks having productive halves. Mills was 16-for-19 for 187 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, while Garbers went 11-of-17 for 129 yards.

Stanford ran the ball only five times for 19 yards in the first half, and one of those runs was a scramble by Mills. Cal had 22 rushing attempts for 87 yards.

Stanford scored the game’s first touchdown two minutes into the game. After returning the opening kickoff to the Cardinal 40-yard line, Stanford needed just four plays to score. The touchdown came on a 40-yard pass from Davis to a wide-open Donald Stewart, giving the Cardinal a 7-0 lead.

Cal tied the game 7-7 on a 13-play, 90-yard drive. Garbers’ 19-yard run initiated the drive, which ended on Brown’s 7-yard scoring run with 45 seconds left in the opening period.

Stanford went ahead 10-7 on Ryan Sanborn’s career-best 48-yard field goal early in the second quarter. The key play on the drive was a 43-yard completion to Simi Fehoko on a third-and-11 play.

The Bears tied it again on Greg Thomas’ career-long 49-yard field goal at the end of a 43-yard drive, making it a 10-10 game.

Cal got to the Stanford 13-yard line late in the second quarter, but a holding penalty pushed the Bears back and a Thomas’ 38-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Jovan Swann. The half ended 10-10.

INJURIES: Cal QB Chase Garbers started Saturday’s game after being cleared during the week. He left last week’s game against USC in the second quarter with an unspecified injury that was unrelated to the shoulder injury he sustained Sept. 27 against Arizona State.

Bears running back Christopher Brown Jr. was questionable during the week, but started Saturday’s game.

Cal wide receiver Kekoa Crawford and safety Ashtyn Davis did not play Saturday after suffering injuries last week.


RECORDS: Cal (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12), Stanford (4-7, 3-5 Pac-12)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cal QB Chase Garbers was 20-for-30 for 285 yards, and he ran 16 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

TURNING POINT: A 31-yard completion by Trevon Clark, who caught the ball just inside the right sideline, put Cal in position for the winning score.

STAT OF THE GAME: Cal WR Nikko Remigio had nine receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown.

WHAT IT MEANS: Cal ensured that it will finish the season with a better overall record than Stanford for the first time since 2008. The Bears appear to be headed to a bowl for the second straight season. A win next week against UCLA would give the Bears a better conference mark than Stanford for the first time since 2008.

CAL’S BOWL BAROMETER: Cal's bowl chances increased to 97 percent with the win, which made the Bears bowl-eligible. The Bears are not guaranteed a bowl berth with their sixth win, but it is unlikley Cal would be left at home for the postseason even if it loses next week at UCLA.

NEXT GAME: Cal at UCLA, Saturday, November 30. Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. TV: FS1. UCLA (4-7, 4-4 Pac-12) lost to USC 52-35 on Saturday.

Comments (3)
No. 1-2

If they can get an offense next year they will be able to contend for the Pac-12 North


Seeing the rally com crew run off with the axe made all the frustrations of the season worth it.