NCAA

Stanford ready for showdown vs. Oregon

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Stanford ready for showdown vs. Oregon

Oregon has moved atop the rankings thanks to its continued dominance of the Pac-12.It's something that Stanford is well aware of.The top-ranked Ducks can stretch their program-best win streak to 14 games and clinch the conference's North Division crown when they host the No. 14 Cardinal on Saturday night.The nation's highest-scoring team cruised to a 59-17 victory at California last Saturday. Oregon (10-0, 7-0) moved up to No. 1 when Alabama was upset by Texas A&M."That's what's so good about this team," said wide receiver Josh Huff, who had three touchdown catches. "We don't pay attention to the rankings and what's around us. We just play Oregon football."The Ducks are 32-2 in conference games under Chip Kelly and have won nine of their last 10 against Stanford (8-2, 6-1).The Cardinal can win the North with a victory this weekend and one over UCLA next week."This is pretty much our Pac-12 championship game," linebacker Chase Thomas said.Stanford has lost its last five trips to Eugene, with four coming by at least three touchdowns. Since Andrew Luck guided the Cardinal to a 51-42 victory over the Ducks in 2009, they have lost the last two meetings by a combined 44 points.Luck and the Cardinal were 9-0 heading into last season's 53-30 home defeat.Coach David Shaw references Oregon all the time in practice to motivate his team."They have great athletes, they have a great scheme in all three phases, they know how to adjust those schemes based on what you're doing, which to me is the biggest key," Shaw said. "You don't see them stopped for long. If you're doing something well that can hold them down, they're going to make a tweak and make you pay for it."That was the case for the Ducks last week as they were held to a season-low 180 rushing yards, with Kenjon Barner limited to a per-carry average of 3.3 yards - 3.5 below his average.It didn't matter because Marcus Mariota threw for career highs of 377 yards and six touchdowns."We're about the end results," Kelly said. "I don't care if we run it, I don't care if we throw it. If you're gonna let us throw it for 377 yards and six touchdowns, we'll take that every week."The coach doesn't expect that type of production this week. Stanford is limiting opponents to a conference-best 320.7 yards per game, leading the nation by limiting foes to an average of 58.8 yards on the ground."I think it'll be a huge challenge offensively getting matched up against what will be the best defense we've faced so far," Kelly said.The high-octane tempo Oregon plays at has paid dividends each of the last two years against Stanford in second halves in which the Cardinal have been outscored 59-14."They do this thing where they play close for a half and then they just take off," Stanford senior defensive tackle Terrence Stephens said. "It's going to take our best game to win."On the other side of the ball, Stanford no longer has Luck as it prepares for its second game with Kevin Hogan as the starter.The redshirt freshman completed 22 of 29 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns in last Saturday's 27-23 home win over then-No. 13 Oregon State. Hogan made his first career start after Shaw decided earlier in the week to permanently bench an ineffective Josh Nunes."Kevin Hogan's probably a little bit better runner than Josh was so there's a little bit more quarterback on the perimeter stuff," Kelly said. "Their system is their system."The Cardinal will likely want to try to control the clock with a rushing attack led by senior Stepfan Taylor, who is fourth in the Pac-12 with 106.1 yards per game. Taylor has amassed 212 yards rushing over his last two games against Oregon."I don't think he gets enough publicity or enough notoriety for what he's done," Kelly said. "He's going to go down as one of the all-time great running backs in Stanford history."The Ducks, meanwhile, have totaled 620 rushing yards over the last two years against the Cardinal.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

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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

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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