Stanford beats Cal 23-13 for ninth straight Big Game win

Photo credit: @StanfordFball

By: Ana Kieu 

BERKELEY, Calif. — After a disappointing postponement due to the poor air quality from the Camp Fire in Butte County, the Stanford Cardinal paid a much-anticipated visit to Memorial Stadium to take on the California Golden Bears in the 121st Big Game on Saturday afternoon.

The Cardinal entered the game with an eight-game win streak in hopes of making it nine in a row. Both Stanford and Cal fans in attendance were fired up, dancing to hit songs such as “Tell Me When To Go” by E-40. The in-stadium DJ picked the perfect rapper to blast as E-40 is a Vallejo, Calif. native and Bay Area sports fan.

The Cardinal also welcomed free agent tight end and Stanford alum Coby Fleener as their honorary captain for the game. Fleener most recently played for the New Orleans Saints from 2016-17 after spending three years with the Indianapolis Colts from 2012-15. Fleener was a second-round pick of the Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft. 

The Cardinal opened the scoring as Jet Toner kicked in a 26-yard field goal to give his team a 3-0 lead with 9:15 left in the first quarter. 

K.J. Costello threw a pass to Cameron Scarlett for a 46-yard passing touchdown and Toner kicked in the extra point. The Cardinal made it a 10-0 game with 4:37 left in the first. 

The Cardinal was up 10-0 at the end of the first. 

The Bears, however, avoided a shutout, thanks to Greg Thomas’ 40-yard field goal. Stanford’s lead was reduced to 10-3 at the 10:14 mark of the second quarter. 

Thomas kicked in a 24-yard field goal to bring the Bears within six, cutting Stanford’s lead to 10-6 with 4:58 left in the second. 

Toner kicked in a 19-yard field goal to expand Stanford’s lead to 13-6 with just one second left in the second. The Cardinal brought a 13-6 lead to the locker room to end the first half. 

The PA announcer announced an attendance of 57,858 in the third quarter. 
The Cal fans made it very loud and clear that Memorial Stadium was Bears territory, but the Cardinal held onto a 13-6 lead at the end of the third. That helped the Cardinal fans feel better about their team. 

And the Cardinal fans had another reason to not fret about the possibility of a Bears comeback in the fourth quarter. Toner kicked in a 21-yard field goal to extend Stanford’s lead to 16-6 with 3:43 left in the fourth. 

As if the confidence level wasn’t already high enough, Stanford added a touchdown just 1:16 later. Scarlett rushed for a 3-yard rushing touchdown and Toner kicked in the extra point to expand Stanford’s lead to 23-6.

Cal took its third and final timeout with 48 seconds left in the fourth. Guess what happened next? Cal scored to pull within 10, cutting Stanford’s lead to 23-13 with 10 seconds left. Chase Garbers threw a pass to Jordan Duncan for an 11-yard passing touchdown and Thomas kicked in the extra point.

The Bears’ down-to-the-wire effort didn’t work today. The Cardinal won 23-13 to extend their Big Game win streak to nine games. 

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