BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- A blowout victory in the Big Game has
always been a perfect way to end a season at California.
Except these Golden Bears aren't done yet. After a 41-6 win over
Stanford on Saturday, they started smelling roses.
J.J. Arrington ran for 169 yards to set Cal's single-season
rushing record, and the fourth-ranked Bears earned their biggest
victory since 1930 in their biggest rivalry. With each big run, big
pass and big defensive stop in the Big Game, Rose Bowl president
Dave Davis was ever more impressed.
"That's pretty much the best way you can leave on Senior Day,"
said Geoff McArthur, who caught five passes to set Cal's career
record for receptions. "Beat Stanford, play pretty well, score a
bunch of points and take The Axe home -- it doesn't get any better
Aaron Rodgers passed for 120 yards and a score for the Bears,
who kept their Bowl Championship Series hopes thriving with their
sixth straight victory.
If the Bears (9-1, 7-1 Pac-10) can beat Southern Mississippi in
their hurricane-postponed regular season finale on Dec. 4, they're
the odds-on favorites for their first trip to Pasadena in 45 years.
"It'd be the greatest," Arrington said. "You always dream
about playing in the Rose Bowl. We haven't really talked about it
as a team, but we can probably talk about it now. We've still got a
long way to go, but I hope we can make it happen."
Arrington and McArthur hit the biggest milestones, but they
weren't the only Bears with a Big Game to remember.
Freshman Marshawn Lynch rushed for 122 yards on just nine
carries, including a spectacular 55-yard touchdown run. Lynch also
threw a TD pass as the Bears racked up 474 total yards in coach
Jeff Tedford's third straight victory over Stanford in the 107th
edition of the rivalry.
Despite the impressive final score, it might have been Cal's
ugliest win of the season, with little offensive rhythm and 26
combined penalties for 228 yards. Things got ugly in the final
minutes, with Stanford's Leigh Torrence landing the most egregious
of several cheap shots by both teams.
"I don't know how it started," Tedford said. "I don't know if
it's frustration. I don't want to point fingers at them, but I just
hope our guys didn't do anything we can't be proud of."
T.C. Ostrander passed for 148 yards for the Cardinal (4-7, 2-6),
who finished their third straight losing season under coach Buddy
Teevens with just 180 yards of total offense. Stanford hadn't lost
the Big Game this decisively since a 41-0 defeat 74 years earlier.
"They're all hard, (but) certainly in a rivalry game like this,
you'd like it to be a contest throughout the ballgame," said
Teevens, whose future will be decided by athletic director Ted
Leland next week.
"At the half, we felt we had an opportunity. They played much
better than we did in the latter portion of the game."
Thousands of Cal fans stormed the field after the game ended,
but two phalanxes of policemen and security personnel prevented any
trouble from breaking out. The goalposts remained intact for
practice on Monday.
With a sellout crowd of 72,981, Cal set a new record for average
attendance and went unbeaten at Memorial Stadium for the first time
since 1950. But those fans were nervous until the Bears took a big
lead in the third quarter.
Freshman Robert Jordan caught an early touchdown pass for Cal,
and McArthur finished with 195 catches to surpass Dameane Douglas'
career receptions record -- but the Bears were carried by their
dynamic rushing duo.
Arrington had his 10th 100-yard game of the season, and he made
a 33-yard run shortly before halftime to surpass Chuck Muncie's
single-season Cal rushing record of 1,460 yards in 1975.
Arrington, a late-surging Heisman Trophy candidate with 1,584
yards, is the only running back in the NCAA to gain at least 100
yards in all of his games this season.
But Lynch made the play of the game with his tackle-breaking
touchdown run, giving Cal a 20-3 lead and providing another glimpse
of the Oakland native's potential. If Arrington wasn't setting
records for Cal this season, Lynch might be having a freshman year
to match Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson and Michigan's Michael Hart.
Moments after Arrington ran for a 9-yard score with 12:53 to
play, Lynch faded back for a TD pass to Burl Toler, who has barely
played in his senior season because of a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Stanford struggled to maintain the simplest drives
against Cal's suffocating defense.
"I don't want to put the blame on anyone," said Stanford
receiver Evan Moore, who had just one catch. "It goes on
everybody. There's just so many things that go into a passing game
and a running game. "
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