NCAA

Post-Luck era begins in Bay Area football

831425.jpg

Post-Luck era begins in Bay Area football

SAN FRANCISCO -- The buzz in the Bay Area is shifting this fall with Andrew Luck long gone.

The first evidence of that came Monday when Stanford, California and San Jose State players and coaches gathered in front of fewer writers and even fewer cameras in downtown San Francisco for the annual Bay Area luncheon. The rest will sink in when fall practices begin later this week and games kick off next month without No. 12 stealing the spotlight.

Stanford has a quarterback competition that could take just that long to resolve. Cal is moving back into remodeled Memorial Stadium - and might need every day left for construction to be completed - after calling the Giants' AT&T Park home last year, and Mike MacIntyre is trying to take the next step in transforming San Jose State from laughingstock into legitimate winner.

"This is the best and worst time for a football coach," said Stanford's David Shaw, the reigning Pac-12 Coach of the Year now entering his second season at the helm. "The best because we all have the same dreams and aspirations of what our teams can accomplish, but then the worst because we can't see them for another few days. It's driving us insane."
RELATED: Cal roster 2012 schedule

Maybe this season more than most.

A year ago, the Bay Area's college football landscape - always second fiddle in one of the most booming NFL markets - saw a rare spike because of Luck, such a driving force in the sport that he created a frenzy just by showing up at the last media day with his signature scruffy beard shaved off. Now the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up is preparing for the pros after the Indianapolis Colts drafted him No. 1 overall, leaving a gaping hole back in the Bay Area to fill.

Shaw is still no closer to reaching a decision on Luck's replacement. He said he will take the quarterback competition between Brett Nottingham and Josh Nunes all the way up until the opener against San Jose State on Aug. 31 if neither creates any separation.

He still wanted to make it clear that the Cardinal are taking aim at a third straight BCS bowl behind a bevy of running backs led by Stepfan Taylor, most starters returning from the league's second-best scoring defense and a more settled coaching staff than a year ago when he took over after Jim Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers.

RELATED: Stanford roster 2012 schedule

"There was a lot of hype surrounding a single player last year, which was much deserved," Shaw said. "But at the same time, we feel like we've got some guys coming back who are some pretty good football players. We believe we're going to be the team we've always been up front. We believe we're a physical run team."

What kind of team Cal is might be the biggest mystery.

Jeff Tedford, entering his 11th season in Berkeley as the Pac-12's most tenured coach, needs a turnaround season after finishing 7-6 and 5-7 in the last two. If nothing else, maybe a change of scenery will do some good.

Construction workers are putting the final touches on a 321 million renovation to historic Memorial Stadium before the Sept. 1 opener against Nevada. After a year of playing home games at San Francisco's waterfront ballpark, which had horrible sightlines and quiet crowds most of last season, the Golden Bears are hoping for a boost in the new digs.

Or, as Tedford put it, "We get to move home."

"There's going to be so much anxiety, so much adrenaline, so much going on," Cal senior defensive back Josh Hill said. "We just can't wait. We can't wait till practice. We can't wait for that first game. Can't wait."

The talent should be there for the Bears.

Keenan Allen headlines an athletic offense he led with 98 catches for 1,343 yards and six touchdowns last season - even admitting Monday he played the final three games with a cracked rib - and should be one of the top receivers in next year's NFL draft. His return should do nothing but help quarterback Zach Maynard, who made strides late last season after transferring from Buffalo.

With games at Ohio State and Southern California in consecutive weeks in September, Cal's schedule will not do the Bears any favors this season. Then again, it also provides an opportunity to return to the national stage - if successful.

"That's why we're doing this," Tedford said.

Expectations have certainly changed in the south bay - there actually are expectations now.

RELATED: San Jose State roster 2012 schedule

After going 1-12 in 2010, MacIntyre and the Spartans are coming off a 5-7 season in which they were in contention for the Western Athletic Conference crown after a thrilling 28-27 victory over Hawaii on national television Oct. 14. While three straight losses followed, San Jose State stayed close in every one, showing real progress in MacIntyre's second season.

How the competition among Dasmen Stewart, Blake Jurich and David Fales at quarterback shakes out will go a long way to determine the Spartans' season. At the very least, they won't be the only program with a new starting quarterback on opening night at Stanford Stadium.

"It will be an interesting dynamic because you really won't know what their strengths are exactly," MacIntyre said. "They lost a phenomenal quarterback, but the guys they have there aren't slouches."

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