Saturday, November 23, 2013
Stanford gets big news in Big Game
By Kyle Bonagura
STANFORD, Calif. -- It was late in the third quarter and Stanford was well on its way to the most lopsided win in Big Game history when former Stanford star Richard Sherman approached coach David Shaw on the sideline.
In town only because the Seahawks are on their bye week, the NFL standout had news to share: Oregon was about to lose to Arizona, meaning Stanford would head to the Pac-12 championship game and its Rose Bowl hopes were back in play.
"He felt like it was OK for him to share it with me," Shaw said. "So he didn't say anything to me, he just tapped me on the shoulder and showed me his phone that had the score on it. And of course I was a little bit shocked, I thought I was seeing it the wrong way."
Ty Montgomery's big game (5 TDs) in the Big Game helped Stanford top Cal and earn a trip to the Pac-12 championship game.
Just as USC's upset of Stanford seemingly did for Oregon a week prior, Arizona's 42-16 thrashing of the fifth-ranked Ducks rerouted Stanford's season. It became official with 1 minute, 48 seconds left in the third quarter of the Big Game, at which point an announcement was made at Stanford Stadium with the Cardinal leading 49-13.
Chants of "Arizona," had broken out several times prior, but it was at that moment the day's loudest cheer broke out. Some Stanford players pointed to the sky, others traded high-fives.
"After they announced the score, everybody went crazy," Shaw said. "The guys in the huddle said, 'This is about our field, our game, let's finish this game right.'"
From there, No. 9 Stanford (9-2, 7-2 Pac-12) added a pair of touchdowns to win 63-13 -- the most points ever scored by a team in the rivalry's 116-game history.
"You hear the crowd, what it means to Stanford, what it means to us," said running back Tyler Gaffney, who ran for 95 yards on 16 carries. "It's huge to hear, especially with the game pretty much put away at that point."
Forget the Big Game, Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery turned in one of the best performances in school history. He scored touchdowns the first four times he touched the ball and tied Darrin Nelson's single-game school record from 1981 with five touchdowns -- all of which came in the first half. Stanford's 42 first-half points were the most it has ever scored in a half.
After a few less-than-memorable performances over the past few weeks, quarterback Kevin Hogan was on point all afternoon. He was accurate on his deep throws, got rid of the ball quickly and took advantage of a porous Cal defense.
Hogan completed 17 of 26 passes for a career-high 329 yards and eclipsed his previous best (286) before halftime. He finished with five touchdown passes -- four to Montgomery, the other to Michael Rector -- before giving way to Evan Crower just before the end of the third.
Stanford hosts Notre Dame next week before the Pac-12 title game on Dec. 7.
The loss marked the end of a disappointing first season for Cal under coach Sonny Dykes. The Bears (1-11, 0-9) finished without a Pac-12 win for the first time since 2001, didn't beat a FBS opponent and will take a 14-game conference losing streak into the offseason.
Despite Cal's dreadful season, Shaw maintained that Stanford's chief rival has the right coach in place.
"I will say this, I hope you're listening closely," Shaw said. "I think Cal has hired the right man. I think Sonny is going to do a great job there. They're building, but they know it's going to be a process."
Cal quarterback Jared Goff finished 10-of-19 for 194 yards -- enough to set the school's single-season passing record (3,508 yards) -- but did not return to the game after taking a hit from Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov late in the first half.
Goff's replacement, Zach Kline, was 8-of-14 for 115 yards in relief.
The future for Kline, one of the most heralded quarterbacks in the class of 2012, is uncertain. Stuck behind the younger Goff on the depth chart, there is strong reason for Kline to transfer.
"I want to stay here. I want to do whatever I can here," said Kline, a redshirt freshman. "But I'm going to have to make a decision that every player in my position's going to have to make. You know, I don't know what that is."
Dykes didn't deliver a ringing endorsement for Kline following the loss: "I didn't think [his performance] was very good."
Then again, Stanford made sure there weren't many positives to be had for Cal, and earned a trip to the Pac-12 championship game by doing so.