It probably wasn't a great idea for the Bad News Bears to come out snarling prior to the opening coin toss. A emotional outburst of pre-game jawing seemed to fire up the visitors in white far more than the visited in blue. One the game started, it was apparent that Stanford had packed all three of its units for this cross-Bay road trip and was ready to take an extended vacation at Berkeley's expense.
An electrifying 58-yard first-quarter run from incomparable quarterback Andrew Luck sparked the relentless Cardinal to an impressive 48-14 smack-down of California at Memorial Stadium in the 113th Big Game. An inspired Cardinal defense produced three big turnovers, held Cal to less than 300 yards of total offense, kept Cal QB Brock Mansion to just 5.0 yards per pass attempt, and pitched a shut-out for the first three quarters while the highly efficient Stanford offense blitzed the shell-shocked Bears every which way but loose with 467 total yards, including 232 on the ground, and six touchdowns and a field goal from seven trips to the red zone.
Seizing the opportunity to post only the fourth 10-win season in school history, the seventh-ranked Cardinal produced a near-perfect, turnover-free game with all of two penalties for 30 yards, stunning, silencing and eventually humiliating a home-town crowd that had expected a far more competitive game from the normally hostile host Bears.
Heisman Trophy candidate Luck was once again superb, masterfully directing drive after drive with pinpoint passing and near-flawless game management (eight scores on his eight possessions), and getting a huge prime-time performance from senior wide receiver Doug Baldwin (5 catches for 97 yards), who made two of the most impressive catches of the 2010 season in his final Big Game appearance. Sophomore running back Stepfan Taylor found the end zone three times and with 4:53 left in the third quarter, true freshman running back Anthony Wilkerson scored from three yards out to give Stanford a 45-0 lead, leaving no doubt about Stanford's ability to avoid a "trap" game during its quest for a BCS bowl game.
From the first offensive play, when Cal fumbled the snap, it was pretty much all Stanford, all the time. 31-0 at the half. 45-0 after three. Cal actually had to resort to gadget plays in the fourth quarter just to get on their own scoreboard, adding a couple of late cosmetic scores while the cruising Cardinal cleared its bench and got ready to take back the Axe and restore it to its rightful owners.
One of the only disappointments of the day was an apparent left knee injury to back-up quarterback Alex Loukas, who was on crutches after getting crunched in a fourth-quarter pile-up.
The Cardinal will have to bring it once again next Saturday as the Oregon State Beavers may have found new life in a surprising 36-7 rout of #20 USC in Corvallis.
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