Bouncing back from a tough overtime loss to Notre Dame a week ago, the Stanford Cardinal cruised to a 21-3 victory over Cal for the third straight year in “The Big Game.”
The Cardinal had a rough start, as Josh Nunes lost a fumble at midfield on their first possession and Jordan Williamson missed a 40-yard field goal on their next drive.
However, Stanford’s defense forced three punts in a row, and Cal could not capitalize on either of the Cardinal’s offensive errors. Stepfan Taylor put Stanford on the board late in the first quarter with a seven-yard rushing touchdown.
Vincenzo D’Amato opened the second quarter with a 21-yard field goal to cut their lead to 7-3, though those would be Cal’s only points of the game.
The Cardinal answered quickly as Nunes hit tight end Zach Ertz on a 68-yard strike to Cal’s seven-yard line. Two plays later, Nunes hit his other stud tight end Levine Toilolo in the end zone to make the score 14-3.
Stanford put up their last points midway through the second quarter after Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen fumbled on his own 20-yard line, which was recovered by Stanford’s Devon Carrington. Nunes proceeded to hit Ertz, who was his favorite target on the day, for a nine-yard touchdown.
A scoreless second half was capped off when Wayne Lyons interception a Zach Maynard pass deep in his own territory which allowed the Cardinal to run the last five minutes off the clock and hold on to their 21-3 lead to keep the Stanford Axe.
Stanford’s front seven was unbelievable throughout the game, allowing only three rushing yards all day.
Ertz and Taylor led the offense with their outstanding production. Ertz hauled in six passes for 134 yards and a touchdown while Taylor carried the ball 28 times for 189 yards and touchdown.
The Cardinal have to feel good about their comfortable win over their long-time rivals after the loss to Notre Dame last week. Look for them to continue their success when they take on Washington State at home next Saturday.