Stanford’s Mills joins elite company with record-setting performance

Photo credit: gostanford.com

By Ana Kieu

The Stanford Cardinal record book is filled with accomplished quarterbacks such as Frankie Albert, John Brodie, Dick Norman, Jim Plunkett, Steve Dils, Guy Benjamin, Mike Boryla, John Elway, Steve Stenstrom, Todd Husak, Andrew Luck and Kevin Hogan.

Add Davis Mills to the record book.

On Saturday in Pullman, Wash., Mills achieved something no other Cardinal signal caller had done. In just his fourth college start, the junior from Duluth, Ga., threw for 504 yards against Washington State, breaking the single-game record of 450 set by Husak against Oregon State in 1998.

“You see the potential, you see the ability,” said Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football David Shaw. “This kid has a chance to be very special.”

It was the first 400-yard passing game for Stanford since Luck went for 423 at Arizona in 2009.

Mills was subbing for senior starter K.J. Costello, who has now missed four and a half games this season due to injury. Shaw’s game plan wasn’t to air it out or attempt 50 passes, but when the Cardinal fell behind 19-0 early in the second quarter to the top passing team in college football on its home turf, he had little choice.

“Once we were down three scores, we had to throw the ball,” Shaw said.

Mills, who passed for 6,290 yards and 66 touchdowns at Greater Atlanta Christian High, obliged.

Showing poise, patience and accuracy, Mills connected with 10 different receivers for 33 completions, three producing touchdowns in the 49-22 defeat.

With Mills leading the way, Stanford clawed within three points (23-20) with 4:18 remaining in the third quarter on his 10-yard scoring toss to sophomore Simi Fehoko and fifth-year senior running back Cameron Scarlett’s two-point conversion.

Four Stanford players finished with 80 or more receiving yards, led by junior Connor Wedington with eight catches for 119 and sophomore Michael Wilson with five for 114. Fehoko grabbed three for 92 and junior Colby Parkinson collected five for 80.

“We’ve got outstanding receivers,” Shaw said.

Wedington and Wilson recorded career-highs in receiving yards, each topping 100 for the first time. Wedington has a reception in all 27 games at Stanford, while Fehoko registered his second two-touchdown game and has six scoring grabs in his last five contests.

THIN SECONDARY
With junior cornerback Paulson Adebo, the Pac-12 leader in passes defended and No. 5 nationally, and senior captain and free safety Malik Antoine sidelined by injuries, Shaw started true freshmen Jonathan McGill at nickel back and Kyu Blu Kelly at cornerback. The situation became more challenging when senior cornerbacks Obi Eboh and Treyjohn Butler went down.

“Obviously, we were shorthanded,” Shaw said. “We fought hard.”

Unable to mount a pass rush against Cougar quarterback Anthony Gordon, a transfer from San Francisco City College and the nation’s leading passer, Washington State piled up 624 yards — 520 through the air — and never punted.

Photo credit: gostanford.com

BIG GAME
After two road losses, Stanford (4-6, 3-5 Pac-12) looks to regroup at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Cal (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12). The Bears lost to USC 41-17 on Saturday night.

Stanford has won a series-high nine consecutive games against Cal. Shaw has grappled with injuries all season and might not know who is available until late in the week.

“We’ve got the talent to hang with them, but we can’t make a lot of mistakes and we don’t have a large margin of error,” Shaw said. “We might have a lot of young guys out there, but we’ll get them ready to battle.”

Last year’s game in Berkeley was postponed due to poor air quality from the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. It marked the first time in 55 years the game date was moved.

MORE MOTIVATION
Shaw said there is plenty to play for against Cal and Notre Dame. Stanford needs two wins to become postseason eligible.

“We’re not even thinking about a bowl game right now,” said Shaw. “We’ve got two of our big-time rivals at home in November. We have to craft the best game plan possible.”

REMEMBERING RALSTON
A public celebration for former Stanford head coach John Ralston will be held on Monday at 4:30 p.m. at Stanford Memorial Church. Limited parking is available near the Campus Oval, and a shuttle service will run between the Stanford Faculty Club (439 Lagunita Drive) and Memorial Church starting at 4 p.m.

Ralston revived the Stanford football program and led the team to consecutive Rose Bowl victories in 1971 and 1972. Known for his outgoing personality, energy and positive attitude, he coached at Stanford for nine years from 1963-1971 and compiled a 55-36-3 record.

Photo credit: gostanford.com

NOTES
Curtis Robison returned to the lineup and shared game tackling honors with nine. Kendall Williamson and Stuart Head had seven stops … Stanford used nine true freshmen on the kickoff coverage team … Scooter Harrington started at tight end, marking the 37th different player to start for the Cardinal this season … With Bradley Archer, Joshua Pakola and Nicolas Toomer seeing their first game action, Stanford has now used 20 true freshmen this season … Casey Toohill blocked an extra point, the third blocked kick by the Cardinal this season (Eboh on a field goal against Oregon State and Spencer Jorgensen on a blocked punt against UCLA) … Toohill also had a sack, his team-leading seventh of the season, and ranks third in the Pac-12 and 27th nationally … McGill made his first career pass interception to thwart a WSU scoring drive … Alex Gracey punted for the first time as a Cardinal. Two of his three kicks were downed inside the WSU 5-yard line … Jeff Raikes ’80, Chairman of the Stanford University Board of Trustees since 2012 and Co-Founder of the Raikes Foundation, served as Stanford’s honorary captain.

QUOTE
“I like to think it was my tutoring over the summer as he was my intern @CBRE_PaloAlto.” — Husak, the Stanford football radio analyst, on his Twitter account about Mills breaking his passing record.

NCAAF podcast with Michelle Richardson: Tagovailoa will be out for rest of season; Wolves get big win over MSU; Penn State goes over Indiana

espn photo: Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is carted off the field after getting a dislocated hip and a bloody nose. Tagovailoa will be out for the rest of the season.

On the NCAAF podcast with Michelle:

#1 The Alabama Crimson Tide’s Tua Tagovailoa will be out for the rest of the season due to a dislocated hip and he got a bloody nose in the Tide’s game with Mississippi State. Alabama won it 38-7. What will the loss of Tagovailoa mean for the Crimson Tide?

#2 Penn State picked a big win over the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday with a 34-27 win. The Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford threw for 178 yards, 11-23 and one touchdown.

#3 Michigan improved to 8-2 with a 44-10 win over Michigan State and the Wolverines quarterback Sean Patterson threw for 384 yards, 24-33, and four touchdowns.

Michelle’s Final Thoughts

Michelle Richardson does the NCAAF podcast each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Cougars use big second half to blow away Cardinal, 49-22

Photo credit: @StanfordFball

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon threw for 520 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday, leading the Cougars to a 49-22 Pac-12 football win over Stanford at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.

The Cougars (5-5 overall, 2-5 Pac-12) had a 19-0 lead in the first half before Stanford could respond. Gordon threw two touchdown passes to Easop Winston Jr. and another to Davontavean Martin.

Stanford’s Davis Mills, who had an impressive passing game himself, rallied the Cardinal (4-6 overall, 3-5 Pac-12) to within 19-14 in the second quarter with touchdown passes of 28 yards to Simi Fehoko and 23 yards to Michael Wilson.

Blake Mazza, who missed two early PAT kicks, booted a 35-yard field goal to give WSU a 22-14 halftime lead.

Mazza kicked a 38-yard field goal at 6:35 of the third quarter, giving the Cougars an 11-point lead. But Stanford pulled to within 25-22 just over two minutes later when Mills connected with Fehoko on a 10-yard scoring pass. Cameron Scott added a 2-point conversion run.

That’s as close as the Cardinal would get. At 3:29 of the third quarter, Gordon’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Arconado ignited a 24-point run to pull away.

In the fourth quarter, a Mazza 35-yard field goal, Gordon’s TD pass to Max Borghi — his fifth of the day — and Borghi’s 4-yard touchdown run completed WSU’s scoring.

Gordon completed 44 of 60 passes with one interception and was sacked twice. Mills threw 50 times, completing 33 for 504 yards and three touchdowns with two picks and two sacks.

Stanford’s running game was nearly nonexistent, with 16 net rushing yards. Borghi ran 15 times for 111 yards, leading WSU.

Connor Wedington led Cardinal pass receivers with eight catches for 119 yards. Wilson caught five passes for 114 yards. Fehoko had 92 receiving yards on three receptions, and Colby Parkinson caught five passes for 80 yards.

Arconado had nine receptions for 148 yards to lead the Cougars. Winston Jr. caught a game-high 11 passes for 107 yards,

The Cardinal return home this Saturday (11/23) to host California for this year’s edition of The Big Game, Kickoff is at 1 p.m. PST.

Stanford’s Sarell returns to his roots

Photo credit: gostanford.com

By Ana Kieu

Foster Sarell will return to his home state when Stanford takes on Washington State on Saturday in Pullman at 1:30 pm PT.

“It’s the east side of Washington and I’m a west side guy,” said Sarell, who was recruited by the Huskies and hails from Graham, a town of just more than 23,000. “If it was up at UW, I would definitely feel a little more. I know lot of people that go to school there (WSU), so that will be fun playing around people I grew up with my whole life.”

Sarell and Drew Dalman are the lone upperclassmen on a Cardinal offensive line that has been hit hard by injuries. The rest of the starters are true freshmen.

“It’s definitely gotten better as we’ve progressed,” Sarell said of the line’s cohesion. “Just trying to understand each other’s tendencies and how we see things.”

The good news is that the same group will start for the fourth consecutive game. Sarell will line up at right tackle for the seventh straight contest; Jake Hornibrook goes at right guard for the fourth-straight game; Dalman, the only member of the unit to start every game, makes his 10th-straight start; Barrett Miller draws his sixth straight start at left guard; and Walter Rouse goes for the ninth straight week.

“I feel really comfortable having Jake next to me and having Barrett and Walter on the other side,” said Sarell. “It’s not going to be perfect but what we’ve got right now has done a good job.”

Sarell appeared in 14 games as a freshman in 2017, but was limited to three last year due to injury. He has missed one game in 2019 and wants to keep it that way as the Cardinal (4-5, 3-4 Pac-12) looks to right the ship from last Saturday’s final play loss in Colorado against the Cougars (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12).

While David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director or Football, complimented the play of Dalman and Sarell this season, both continue to refine their crafts and provide daily advice to the freshmen.

“A little bit,” said Sarell. “It’s just naturally going to happen because they’re young and haven’t been through the ringer like Drew and I have. But I actually really enjoy it because I love the young guys that are with us. They’re super-cool, awesome kids and to be able to coach and help them in any way possible only makes me better.”

Sarell said the toughest part was losing Henry Hattis for the season against Washington.

“When Henry went down, because of how close I am with him, my heart ached for him,” Sarell said. “That stuff hurts because you are brothers and you care for them. But in terms of an athletic mindset, it’s always the next man up.”

Sarell had high praise for run game coordinator and offensive line coach Kevin Carberry for his positive attitude and constant adjustments.

“He’s coached so well with what he’s had to deal with,” said Sarell. “There haven’t been many games where the offensive line has played together consecutively. He’s done a great job handling that and coaching us. You can tell he just loves ball and doesn’t care who’s in there. He’s just going to coach them as hard as he can.”

What makes Carberry special?

“He brings the juice and is a high-energy man,” Sarell said. “That’s great to have because sometimes you have those days where you are just mulling around, and he comes out firing. He coaches hard and you can tell he cares for us and loves the game. That makes you want to push yourself and love the game as well.”

INJURY UPDATE
Paulson Adebo and junior tight end Tucker Fisk sustained injuries against Colorado and are out “for a while”, Shaw said. Malik Antoine and K.J. Costello are doubtful; and Curtis Robinson is probable.

Costello took a hard hit against the Buffaloes, but was cleared to return and threw a fourth quarter strike to Simi Fehoko, which resulted in a 79-yard touchdown. Costello, who has missed 3 1/2 games this season, hasn’t practiced this week.

Davis Mills returned to practice last week and could’ve played against Colorado.

“He’s looked really good,” Shaw said Wednesday night.

Additionally, Shaw said Trevor Speights will not play this season but remains hopeful Devery Hamilton will return.

CRAMMING FOR COUGARS
Stuart Head said preparing for the WSU offense can be stressful. The task will be made tougher without Adebo, the Pac-12 leader and tied for fifth in the FBS in passes defended with 14, and Antoine.

“It’s probably the most hectic preparation week in the whole season, for the DBs specifically,” Head said. “We like to invite that challenge for ourselves – they always have the leading passer in the country and a great group of receivers. We know we can affect the game in a positive way if we’re prepared and ready on Saturday.”

The Cougars’ quarterback Anthony Gordon leads the FBS with 3,794 passing yards. His closest pursuer has 3,198 — a difference of 596 yards.

DIFFERENT STYLES
While Cougars head coach Mike Leach is outspoken, quirky and loves putting the ball in the air, Shaw is more even-tempered and believes in a balanced attack. That said, they’re more similar than you think.

“Commonalities-wise, we enjoy the game, we enjoy the chess match on game day,” said Shaw. “My call (play) sheet is 10-times bigger than his. But when you watch them, you don’t see that because he’s the master adjuster. He’ll say he’s got five pass plays in a game, but they look like 25, because he’ll call one and then tag a receiver and do something different. The manipulation on that 3-by-5 card is always different than it seems.”

Photo credit: gostanford.com

RALSTON MEMORIAL
A public celebration of former Cardinal head coach John Ralston will be held on Monday, November 18, at 4:30 pm PT at Stanford Memorial Church. Limited parking is available near the Campus Oval, and a shuttle service will run between the Stanford Faculty Club (439 Lagunita Drive) and Memorial Church starting at 4 pm PT.

Ralston revitalized the Stanford football program and guided the team to consecutive Rose Bowl victories in 1971 and 1972. Known for his outgoing personality, relentless work ethic, innovative play calling, organization and positive attitude, he coached at Stanford for nine years from 1963-1971 and compiled a 55-36-3 record. Before his arrival, the team had recorded five straight losing seasons.

In the late 1960’s, Ralston changed Stanford’s offensive philosophy from a power running game to a pro-style passing attack. Recruiting local quarterbacks Jim Plunkett from James Lick High and Don Bunce from Woodside High, Ralston won consecutive Pac-8 titles in 1970 and 1971.

Plunkett engineered the upset of Ohio State (27-17) in 1971 and was named Stanford’s first and only Heisman Trophy winner. The following year, Bunce took the reins and helped Stanford shock Michigan 13-12.

Prior to Stanford’s Rose Bowl triumph in Pasadena in 1971, the program’s last visit was 1952, when it fell to Illinois (40-7). Stanford’s most recent Rose Bowl win was 1941, when it defeated Nebraska (21-13).

“Growing up on the West Coast in a football family, John Ralston was one of those iconic coaches to me,” said Shaw. “His name was synonymous with teaching, positive energy and class.”

Photo credit: gostanford.com

A member of the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame, Ralston was a linebacker at Cal from 1947-50 and played in the 1949 and 1950 Rose Bowls for legendary head coach Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf. Ralston graduated from Cal in 1951.

Gifts in Ralston’s memory can be made to a new fund established in his name at Stanford University to help support leadership development and education.

NOTES
To bolster the secondary, Shaw said Zahran Manley and Nicolas Toomer could see playing time. Manley has appeared in five games. “They’re great young corners,” said Head. “Whoever we put on the field will be ready.” … Shaw said 25 players have missed significant playing times due to injuries – only two with similar issues. “It’s been one of those crazy years,” Shaw said … Asked what he expects from his team in the final three games, Shaw said, “Effort and execution.” … Saturday’s weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 50 degrees … Kickoff for the 122nd Big Game against Cal on November 23 at Stanford Stadium has been set for 1 pm PT.

QUOTE
“We go from triage to gameplan.” — David Shaw

Final three games will likely test the character of the young Cardinal

Photo credit: gostanford.com

By Ana Kieu

Facing a hungry, dangerous team on Homecoming, Stanford gave itself a great chance to escape Colorado with a victory on Saturday, but was unable to shut the door on the Buffaloes.

Having lost five consecutive games and allowed 30-plus points to every opponent, Colorado dug in on defense, limiting Stanford to one touchdown in the 16-13 victory. On two red zone trips, Stanford settled for a field goal and missed a short attempt.

“It had a dramatic effect on the game,” said senior quarterback K.J. Costello. “What that does is put stress on your defense countless times to hold them to field goals instead of touchdowns.”

After allowing an early score, the Cardinal defense settled down and played well in the thinner air and unseasonably warm mid-70-degree temperatures. Ultimately, it came down to a final stop, but the Buffaloes chewed up the final six minutes with a 13-play, 61-yard drive culminating in a game-winning 37-yard field goal by Evan Price.

“It’s really disappointing,” said fifth-year senior outside linebacker Casey Toohill. “At the end, we just weren’t good enough. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth so we have to deal with it.”

Although no one’s looking past Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. kickoff against Washington State in Pullman, Stanford (4-5, 3-4 Pac-12) needs two wins in its final three outings to become bowl eligible.

Stanford concludes the regular season by hosting Cal on Nov. 23 and Notre Dame on Nov. 30.

“The bottom line is we have to play better in the fourth quarter,” said Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football David Shaw.

GROWING PAINS
As difficult as losses have been, many young players continue to learn on the fly, including three freshmen starters on the offensive line. They’re growing with every snap and have bright futures.

Through nine games, 17 freshmen have played, seven in starting roles due to injuries. On Saturday, offensive lineman Drake Nugent and inside linebacker Aeneas DiCosmo made their college debuts.

Freshmen running backs Austin Jones and Nathaniel Peat made nice contributions. Jones ran five times for 30 yards and Peat had four carries for 29. Jones also made a 4-yard reception.

Also seeing action for the second time this season was freshman inside linebacker Tristan Sinclair, who made two solo tackles.

“They’re fast, athletic and made some plays,” Shaw said. “We missed a couple things and you know that going in when you’re going to have young, inexperienced guys out there against experienced guys on the other side.”

Additionally, 17 Cardinal have started for the first time in their college careers, with fifth-year senior inside linebacker Ryan Beecher joining the list against Colorado.

FIERY FEHOKO
Sophomore wide receiver Simi Fehoko has developed into one of the team’s best playmakers. He caught a 79-yard touchdown pass from Costello early in the fourth quarter to give Stanford a 13-10 lead. It was Fehoko’s fourth scoring reception of the season and the team’s longest since JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s 80-yard grab against San Diego State in 2018.

“I saw the hole and actually thought the corner was going to peel off and get me,” said Fehoko, who caught the ball across the middle, then weaved his way through Colorado defenders and outran them to the end zone.

The play energized the team at just the right time.

“After I went to the sideline, everybody was a lot more juiced,” Fehoko said. “We just had to go down and close it.”

Photo credit: gostanford.com

OUT OF SYNC
After piling up 472 yards and 41 points against Arizona, the offense struggled against Colorado. Stanford managed only 15 first downs, was 3-of-10 on third down, and committed costly penalties.

“They did a good job in showing us a lot of different looks, but nothing we hadn’t seen,” said Costello. “It came down to pure execution.”

Costello said it was tough watching Colorado consume the last six minutes off the clock.

“I don’t know about any other player, but I want the ball in my hands to win the game,” Costello said. “It’s frustrating.”

Photo credit: gostanford.com

UP NEXT
Stanford plays its final road game on Saturday against Washington State (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12) in Pullman. The Cougars lost at Cal on Saturday, 33-20, failing to score 30 or more points for just the second time this season.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach loves to air it out. Led by quarterback Anthony Gordon, the Cougars pace the Pac-12 in passing, averaging 37.4 attempts and 411.7 yards per game. WSU crushed visiting Colorado, 41-10, on Oct. 19, and narrowly lost at Oregon two weeks ago in Eugene on a last-second field goal, 37-35.

Photo credit: gostanford.com

NOTES
Senior inside linebacker Andrew Pryts led Stanford in tackles with seven. He ranks 13th in the Pac-12 in stops with 45 … Stanford recorded five tackles for loss, with Toohill recording a sack. He now has six on the season and five in conference play, the fourth-most in the conference, and ranks 10th in tackles for loss with six … Junior cornerback Paulson Adebo continues to lead the Pac-12 in passes defended with 14 and has four interceptions … Sophomore fullback Jay Symonds caught his second career pass … Costello now has 6,151 career passing yards and became the ninth player in school history to surpass 6,000 … Fifth-year senior running back Cameron Scarlett ran for a team-high 63 yards and moved past 2019 Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Bill Tarr (1953-55) into 20th place on the program’s career list with 1,599 … Former Stanford fullback Ryan Hewitt (2009-13) served as the honorary captain. Tough and versatile, he ran for more than 500 yards and helped lead Stanford to consecutive Pac-12 titles and two trips to the Rose Bowl. Hewitt played for six seasons in the NFL.

QUOTE
“You can feel a little salt in the locker room.” — K.J. Costello after the loss and how he thinks it will help motivate the team

SJSU’s Walker added to Biletnikoff Award Watch List

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

San Jose State wide receiver Tre Walker is one of five NCAA FBS players recently added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.

Named after the Oakland Raiders’ great Fred Biletnikoff, a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, the award honors the top pass receiver nationally regardless of position. The award is presented and sponsored by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation. A wide receiver, tight end, running back or a slot back is eligible to be considered and win the Biletnikoff Award.

In 2019, Walker, a junior from Los Angeles, leads the Spartans in receiving and is one of the top pass catchers in FBS football. He has 59 receptions for 896 yards and one touchdown. In games played through Nov. 9, he’s nationally ranked in receptions per game (7th), receiving yards per game (5th) and total receiving yards (13th).

With today’s announcement, more than 70 players are listed on this year’s watch list.

Ten semifinalists will be named on Nov. 18 and three finalists will be announced on Nov. 25.

This year’s Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented at the Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 12 in Atlanta, Ga. The award ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at the University Center Club at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Biletnikoff Award is a member of the NCFAA, which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football.

Cal Bears football podcast with Morris Phillips: Cal scrapes together enough 4th quarter offense to get by WSU 33-20

calbears.com photo: Jaylinn Hawkins hauled in his eighth career interception in the first quarter

On the Cal Bears football podcast with Morris:

#1 From looking at the score frames it looked as if the Bears played small ball and beat Washington State by a 1000 cuts on Saturday 33-20

#2 The Bears big quarter was the fourth quarter when they scored 13 points to over come the Cougars

#3 The Bears quarterback Devon Modster went 16-24 for 230 yards and three touchdowns Modster threw just well enough to beat the Cougars.

#4 For the Cal touchdowns Modster had a keeper, Christopher Brown Jr and Malai Polk both had touchdowns.

#5 With the USC Trojans coming this Saturday to Memorial this will be one of Cal’s biggest challenges and a win could help their post season chances.

Morris does the Cal podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

Healthier, Wealthier: Bears finally cash in with 33-20 win over WSU ending four-game slide

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, Calif. — Well, we knew coming in that previously ranked Washington State and Cal are pretty good football teams except when they aren’t.

The Cougs look bad when they can’t stop anybody, and when the Bears struggle they can’t score.Β  Those two storylines grew old in Pullman and Berkeley with all the losing. Since late September when WSU and Cal were both undefeated and nationally ranked, the two clubs combined for a 1-8 record.

So Saturday’s matchup offered redemption for one of the two teams, and more of the same for the other.

Who gained the upper hand?

Cal did, winning 33-20, as they welcomed back injured, offensive starters Michael Saffell, Kekoa Crawford and Devon Modster, three big reasons the Bears put up a season-best 33 points, one game after they were shutout in Salt Lake City.

“It just shows a lot of grit, coming off of a four-game losing streak,” said Modster, who threw for three scores and ran for another. “Our spirits didn’t die. We came out to work every day, and I think it showed tonight.”

The Bears scored just 24 points total in their previous three losses, but needed all of 45 seconds to find the end zone on Saturday night. Jaylinn Hawkins picked off Anthony Gordon’s first pass attempt of the game, and Christopher Brown Jr. covered 27 yards on a touchdown run one play later.

Any illusions that Cal was going to erase all its ills immediately were wiped out on the extra-point attempt when WSU’s George Hicks III scooped up a blocked kick and raced the length of the field for two points for the Cougars.

When is a touchdown not worth seven points on the scoreboard? In this case, when the Bears’ faulty place-kicking game gets involved. In that case, seven points is effectively reduced to four.

Defensively, the Bears were on point from the start, not only with Hawkins interception, but by getting off the field in a timely matter on Washington State’s next two possessions. But after tight end Gavin Reinwald fumbled trying to get extra yardage after a catch, WSU had a short field, and drew within a point on Drew Mazza’s 30-yard field goal.

Giving away points to a normally prolific WSU offense could have spelled disaster. Trailing only 6-5 after a lackluster beginning may have been the Cougars signal to bury Cal offensively, but it wasn’t. WSU committed too many penalties (10), couldn’t run the ball (16 yards on just 14 attempts) and didn’t do enough in the pass game despite racking up 407 yards passing on Gordon’s 58 pass attempts.

Instead, Cal limited WSU’s receivers after the catch, came up with Hawkins’ pick and a fumble recovery, along with a key stop early in the fourth quarter that preserved Cal’s 20-14 lead.

Meanwhile, the Bears took after halftime, as the Cougs imploded, building on their 13-11 lead at the break with a couple of big plays, most significantly, Makai Polk’s 52-yard catch-and-run that put Cal up 26-14 with 6:15 remaining. Polk, the freshman from Richmond, had just three catches all season prior to his touchdown, a moment of brilliance that saw Modster recognize the defense pre-snap, then have Polk take advantage after catching a simple screen pass.

“They were (in) cover zero and I knew it was going to be a big gain, but I didn’t know if it was going to be a touchdown or not,” Modster recalled. “But right when I threw it I saw a huge hole and Makai just did all the rest.”

The Bears are back in the postseason mix if they can gain at least one more win in their final three games. USC comes to Berkeley on Saturday, then the Bears visit Stanford. Both teams have been vulnerable at points this season, and Cal could benefit greatly if that resurfaces for either opponent. Bringing to an end the nine consecutive losses to Stanford probably is especially enticing to the Bears.

 

San Jose State comes up just short in Hawaii, 42-40

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

San Jose State football looked for a two-game winning streak in the islands against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Aloha Stadium on Saturday night. Unfortunately, the Spartans’ wish didn’t come true, but the road team put up a good fight in Honolulu.

Matt Mercurio opened the scoring with a 28-yard field goal with 9:06 left in the first quarter. The Rainbow Warriors responded with a touchdown as Chevan Cordeiro threw a 5-yard pass to JoJo Ward for a 7-3 lead with just 27 seconds left in the first.

The Spartans lead 7-3 at the end of the first.

The Spartans scored first to start the second quarter. DeJon Packer ran for a 6-yard touchdown to put SJSU on top 10-7 at 11:15 of the second. Mercurio hit a 43-yard field goal to make it 13-10 Spartans with 9:59 left in the second.

The Rainbow Warriors made it a 1-point game, 14-13, as Cordeiro threw a 71-yard pass to Ward just 51 seconds later. But the Spartans quickly responded as Packer ran for a 20-yard touchdown to extend SJSU’s lead to 20-14 with 6:26 left in the second.

The Rainbow Warriors went ahead 21-20 as Miles Reed ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 2:37 left in the second. But the Spartans ended up taking a 23-21 lead to the locker room at the halftime break, thanks to Mercurio’s 43-yard field goal with just 44 seconds left in the second.

The Rainbow Warriors struck first in the third quarter. Cordeiro ran for a 3-yard touchdown for a 28-23 lead with 9:30 left in the third. The Spartans made it a 2-point game after Mercurio hit a 25-yard field goal with 1:21 left in the third.

The Spartans led 28-26 at the end of the third.

Cordeiro threw a 5-yard pass to Jared Smart for a touchdown to give the Rainbow Warriors a 35-26 lead at 12:13 of the fourth quarter. But the Spartans pulled within two as Josh Love threw a 40-yard pass to Bailey Gaither with 9:53 left in the fourth.

However, Hawaii went ahead 42-33 with 4:23 left in the fourth as Cordiero ran for a 2-yard touchdown.

SJSU seemed to have had the “never say die” attitude when Love threw a 19-yard pass to Isaiah Holiness for a touchdown that brought the Spartans within two with 1:51 left in the fourth.

The Spartans lost to the Rainbow Warriors 42-40. With the loss, SJSU fell to 6-4, 1-5 Mountain West, while Hawaii improved to 6-4, 3-3 Mountain West.

The Spartans have a bye week, then head to Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas to face the UNLV Rebels on Saturday, November 23 at 1 pm PT.

Buffaloes sink Cardinal 16-13 on last-second field goal

Photo credit: @StanfordFball

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, November 9, 2019

Stanford’s slim chances of playing in a bowl game decreased Saturday, when Colorado kicker Even Price make a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter, giving the Buffaloes a 16-13 victory in Boulder.

Colorado need to win its final two games to become bowl eligible. The Cardinal (4-5 overall, 3-4 Pac-12) must win two of its final three games to extend its consecutive bowl streak to 11 seasons.

Both teams are already eliminated from Pac-12 championship possibilities.

Price, a freshman, was promoted this week with regular kicker James Stefanou out with an injury. His game-winner was the Buffs’ first as time expired since Sept. 29, 2007, against Oklahoma.

Colorado (4-6 overall, 2-5 conference) opened the scoring at 11:14 of the first quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run by Steven Montez. The Cardinal answered with a Ryan Sanborn 40-yard field goal at 5:58, as the Buffaloes held a 7-3 lead after one quarter.

The teams swapped field goals in the second quarter. Sanborn kicked a 36-yarder and Price hit from 34, giving the Buffs a 10-6 halftime lead.

Stanford surged ahead one minute into the second half when quarterback K.J. Costello connected with Simi Fehoko for a 79-yard scoring pass, putting the Cardinal up 13-10.

Price booted a 23-yard field goal with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter. That completed the scoring until Price’s game-winning field goal.

Costello completed 18 of 29 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown with one interception and two sacks. Cameron Scarlett led the Cardinal rushers with 63 yards on 13 carries.

Fehoko caught two passes for 95 yards, and Colby Parkinson had five receptions for 54 yards. Michael Wilson and Conor Wedington each caught three passes.

The Buffaloes leaders included Laviska Shenault Jr., who caught eight passes for 91 yards, and Alex Fontenot rushed for 95 yards on 18 attempts.

The Cardinal travel to Washington State next Saturday at 1:30 p.m.