NCAA

It's the Big Game

592302.jpg

It's the Big Game

I know. Its pretty arrogant to think of Saturdays little get together at Stanford as the Big Game. There are probably a lot of games being played around the country this weekend that would fit that category, but for those of us who were born and raised in these parts, even though it can sometimes be a misnomer, for all its hokeyness -- its the Big Game.

In fact, if Harvard and Yale can refer to their yearly tussle as simply, The Game -- I think we here in the Bay Area are perfectly within our rights to add Big to the name. And this year it actually could rightly be called the Kinda Sorta Biggish Game. Stanford had its sizable bubble burst last week and Cal can at least now ponder a post season trip to -- well, to its home stadium this year, AT&T Park. Cmon, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is a bowl game isnt it?

PREVIEW: Cal vs. No. 8 Stanford

If the Bears can somehow manage to hand the Cardinal its second straight loss, Stanford will have gone from the National Championship Game to the Fiesta Bowl, to one of those other bowl games watched only by relatives and shut-ins. One thats sponsored by some product that is only used in areas where John Deere is the biggest name in transportation.

The truth is, the Big Game is the only time all year that the suits who inhabit the caverns of the financial district pick their heads up out of the big book of pork belly futures to nudge the Old Blue in the next cubicle about how the Bears havent been to the Rose Bowl since the Eisenhower administration. Thats usually met with a comment like, I think a dancing tree is a pretty stupid mascot. So much for football season. Back to the big board.

And thats why they call it the Big Game folks.

As to the contest itself, Stanford gets the game at home, and thats a good thing considering they got run out of their own building -- not to mention any hope of an undefeated season -- a week ago against Oregon. The very best news for Stanford -- Cal isnt Oregon.

KILLION: Big Game huge for Tedford

With that said, it wouldnt shock me if the Bears came down the peninsula and handed Stanford another serving of humble pie. For no other reason but that the Big Game is the personification of every sports clich that was ever spoken. Throw the records out in this one. You just dont know when its a traditional game. Stranger things have happened. Well you know what? You can, you dont, and they have -- those are the clichd answers to the clichd questions.

I dont really think Cal will win the game. Stanfords run defense is too good -- against everyone but Oregon that is -- and Cal doesnt throw it very well. Defensively, I like the Bears, but Andrew Luck is due for a game that he simply goes out and wins. Thats what I think will happen.

RATTO: Big Game intrigue

The Bears arent going to the Rose Bowl again, I do think the Tree is a pretty stupid mascot, and Id really like to know when to jump back into the pork belly market. But, like everyone else, Ill be watching the Big Game as I have for the past half century. And, why not?

Its the Big Game.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

love-ap.jpg
AP

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

BOX SCORE

PALO ALTO — Bryce Love rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown despite missing most of the fourth quarter after aggravating an ankle injury, and No. 20 Stanford held off California 17-14 on Saturday to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.

K.J. Costello completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, Ben Edwards made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Cameron Scarlett rushed for 49 yards on the final drive in place of Love to help the Cardinal (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) milk the clock and win its eighth straight Big Game.

Stanford can earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against USC but needs some help.

The Cardinal can get there if No. 15 Washington State loses to No. 16 Washington next week. If the Cougars — who beat Stanford 24-21 on Nov. 4 — beat the Huskies, they get the nod because of the tiebreaker.

The nation's leading rusher going into the game, Love was held in check most of the game by Cal's defense and sat out the final 11:43 after re-injuring his ankle that has bothered him for the past month. He did stay on the field long enough to score a 57-yard touchdown — his 11th run of 50 yards or longer this season.

Scarlett, Love's primary backup all season, also came up big for Stanford. Scarlett rushed for 61 yards, the majority coming on the Cardinal's last drive that took the final 7:25. Scarlett's 2-yard gain on 4th-and-1 kept the drive going.

Patrick Laird ran for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Ross Bowers passed for 182 yards and a touchdown for California. The Golden Bears (5-6, 2-6) need a win in their final game to become bowl eligible in coach Justin Wilcox's first season.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears made the Cardinal sweat and kept the game a lot closer than many thought possible. Wilcox's defense did a good job bottling up Love most of the game but couldn't stop Scarlett on the final drive which was huge. Still, there are plenty of positives for Cal to take out of this one.

Stanford: It wasn't the best game for David Shaw's team but the Cardinal gritted it out and held off a pesky Cal team that had plenty to play for. The conference title can still happen but before that Stanford has a pretty big game coming up against Notre Dame.

UP NEXT

California: Ends the regular season at UCLA on Saturday.

Stanford: The Cardinal stay home and will host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. Stanford has won the last two and six of last eight against the Irish.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

lasco-ap.jpg
AP

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report