College football roundup: Harbaugh wins again; Stanford crushed


College football roundup: Harbaugh wins again; Stanford crushed

The man can coach.

Jim Harbaugh, who turned around a moribund Stanford program and led the 49ers to within five yards of a Super Bowl title, is working his magic again in Ann Arbor. Harbaugh took over a Michigan franchise that had gone 35-40 the previous six years and is 15-3 to date, resurrecting the vise-like Michigan defense that was AWOL under predecessors Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke.

Saturday, the No. 4 ranked Wolverines beat No. 8 Wisconsin 14-7 in a typical smash mouth Big Ten game that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate (Michigan missed three makeable field goals and Wisconsin’s only score was set up by a long interception return). All signs point to the Nov. 26 Michigan-Ohio State game as a faceoff for the playoffs.

There were two other matchups over the weekend between top 10 teams. One was a blowout, the other a nail-biter.

Washington 44 – Stanford 6: No one saw this coming. What was heralded as “the biggest game of the year in the Pac-12” turned out to be no contest. The 10th-ranked Huskies dominated in the trenches, held Christian McCaffrey to 79 yards from scrimmage and gave No. 7 Stanford its worst shellacking since the IPhone 4.

I’m not sure what was more surprising—the ease with which Washington scored, or Stanford’s inability to move the ball. Much has been made of the fact that Stanford’s two starting cornerbacks missed the game with injuries, but the most critical loss may have been fullback Daniel Marx. Marx is McCaffrey’s lead blocker and also fills a crucial role on pass protection. He was sorely missed.

Clemson 42, Louisville 36: In a thoroughly exciting and entertaining game, Deshaun Watson threw five touchdown passes to lead No. 5 Clemson. No. 3 Louisville scored 26 straight points to get back in the game and came up a yard short of first-down yardage inside the Clemson five in the closing seconds. Both teams remain in the playoff hunt.

Elsewhere: Oregon lost its third straight (51-33 to WSU) and must find a defense very quickly with Washington up next. Colorado (4-1) continued its resurgence under former San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre with a convincing win over Oregon State. USC coach Clay Helton may have averted an early morning meeting with Athletic Director Lynn Swann on the LAX tarmac by winning at Arizona State. And No. 22 Nebraska improved to 5-0 with a win over Illinois. The Huskers’ coaches trace their turnaround to an impressive victory over UCLA in last year’s Foster Farms Bowl at Levi’s Stadium.

Cal’s Defense Shines: The much-maligned Cal defense came up big with a last-minute goal-line stand against unbeaten and No. 18 ranked Utah to preserve a 28-23 win. Cal quarterback Davis Webb, the national leader in touchdown passes, added four more and now has 22 in five games. Not surprisingly, a host of 49ers’ scouts were watching Webb from the Memorial Stadium press box.

Where’s Mack? ESPN2 analyst Mack Brown, the former Texas coach, bailed out of Friday night’s BYU-Toledo game with almost 11 minutes remaining and Toledo up 45-42. Apparently, Brown left to catch an early flight so he could make the ESPN studio show Saturday morning in Bristol. Brown missed an amazing finish, as BYU won 55-53 on a last second field goal. He probably wouldn’t have left if it was Oklahoma-Texas.

Heisman watch: It’s still early, but right now the Heisman race is all about quarterbacks.

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: You’ll recall that Barrett started most of 2014 as a redshirt freshman after returning Big Ten Player of the Year Braxton Miller suffered a season-ending injury in fall camp. All Barrett did was pass for 35 touchdowns, rush for 11 more, and lead the Buckeyes to a 10-1 record before breaking his ankle against Michigan. Last year, he split time with Cardale Jones, who’d led the Buckeyes to the national championship after Barrett went down. This season, with the job all to himself, Barrett has been phenomenal, piloting the No. 2 ranked Buckeyes (4-0) to 57 points per game.

Lamar Jackson, Louisville: Saturday’s loss won’t diminish Jackson’s Heisman chances at all. He brought his team back and was in position to win the game when his receiver was stopped a yard short. Jackson is responsible for 28 TDs in five games—14 passing and 14 running—more than just a handful of teams. Heisman voters have preferred a fresh face in recent years (Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, Derrick Henry, etc.), which works in his favor.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson: Watson finished third last year behind winner Henry and Stanford’s McCaffrey. After a great performance in the national championship game vs. Alabama, he went into the season as one of the favorites, along with McCaffrey and LSU’s Leonard Fournette. Watson started slowly this year, but his five-touchdown performance vs. Louisville has vaulted him back near the top of the heap.

Rising (with a bullet): Washington’s Jake Browning could get into the mix if the Huskies continue to win and he continues to impress.

Losing ground: The pre-season headliners at running back have all lost ground. McCaffrey must compete with his own incredible numbers from last year, when he broke Barry Sanders’ single season all-purpose yardage record and should have won the Heisman. He’ll need some big performances in the coming weeks. Fournette has missed two games because of injury and his coach was fired after four games. Florida State’s Dalvin Cook is also being hurt by his under-achieving team (3-2).

New AP Top 25: 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Clemson, 4. Michigan, 5. Washington,    6. Houston, 7. Louisville, 8. Texas A&M, 9. Tennessee, 10. Miami, 11. Wisconsin, 12. Nebraska, 13. Baylor, 14. Ole Miss, 15. Stanford, 16. Arkansas, 17. North Carolina, 18. Florida, 19. Boise State, 20. Oklahoma, 21. Colorado, 22. West Virginia, 23. Florida State, 24. Utah, 25. Virginia Tech. Cal received three votes.

Gary Cavalli is a 40-year veteran of the Bay Area sports scene and was Executive Director of the Foster Farms Bowl and Sports Information Director/Associate Athletic Director at Stanford

Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn caps monster season by winning Golden Spikes Award


Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn caps monster season by winning Golden Spikes Award

LOS ANGELES – One of the most prolific seasons in Cal baseball history has earned Andrew Vaughn a spot among the elite names ever to play the game on the amateur level as he has been named the Golden Spikes Award winner by USA Baseball and the Rod Dedeaux Foundation.

The award, which has been given to the nation’s top amateur player annually since 1978, is considered one of the highest honors a college baseball player can earn. The announcement came as part of ESPN’s SportsCenter telecast on Thursday afternoon with three of the four finalists – Vaughn, Texas infielder Kody Clemens and Auburn pitcher Casey Mize – in studio at ESPN Los Angeles.

Vaughn is the first Cal baseball player to earn the honor and is only the second to be named a finalist, joining Lance Blankenship (1984). He is the eighth Pac-12 player to bring home the award and joins a group that includes UCLA’s Trevor Bauer (2011), Washington's Tim Lincecum (2006), USC's Mark Prior (2001), Arizona State's Mike Kelly (1991), Oddibe McDowell (1984) and Bob Horner (1978) and Arizona's Terry Francona (1980). 

The announcement came live on SportsCenter at ESPN’s Los Angeles studios. After being announced as the winner, Vaughn was joined on set by his parents, Toby and Diana, along with his sister, Madison, and Cal head coach Mike Neu. 

From a statistical standpoint, the award is certainly deserved for the native of Santa Rosa, Calif. after he turned in one of the greatest single seasons in Cal baseball history.

A sophomore first baseman, Vaughn started all 54 games and hit .402, a mark that ranks third in Cal single-season history. His 23 home runs tied the single-season record set by Xavier Nady in 1999 and his slugging percentage of .819 is the best in school history. 

He also drove in 63 runs, walked 44 times, got hit by a pitch 12 times and struck out only 18 times. His on-base percentage of .531 ranks fourth in the nation. Vaughn was also one of the conference's best defenders at his position, compiling a fielding percentage of .992 and earning a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive team.

The announcement came as part of a two-day trip to Los Angeles for Vaughn, who has stayed busy since the end of the collegiate season. Beginning the summer as a member of the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League, Vaughn left New England as the league leader in both home runs (5) and RBI (14) after 14 games played.

Before heading to Southern California, he moved down the East Coast to Cary, N.C. to begin his second stint with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. International play begins for Team USA on June 28 when Chinese Taipei visits for a five-game series. The team will also take on Japan and Cuba as play extends into mid-July.

Cal Athletics provided this report.

WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault


WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault

BERKELEY — Former California women’s basketball player and current WNBA All-Star guard Layshia Clarendon has filed a lawsuit against Cal claiming she was sexually assaulted by a longtime member of the athletic department.

The school acknowledged the lawsuit Wednesday night and said the staff member, Mohamed Muqtar, had recently been placed on paid leave. The assistant director of student services, Muqtar has been working for the university for just more than 25 years, the school said. An e-mail to Muqtar’s Cal email account was not immediately returned.

Cal said in a statement “the University is aware of the complaint, but has not received a copy of the lawsuit nor had the benefit of reviewing the allegations.”

Clarendon, who plays for the Atlanta Dream and was at Cal from 2009-13, posted on Twitter her thoughts about the lawsuit.

She said in three separate tweets:

— “Regarding the news today: I want the shame to not be my own anymore, because it’s not my shame to carry, but it’s something that I’ve had to carry. It’s a horrible thing to live in silence, to carry that pain and that weight and the guilt.”

— “My biggest hope is that he never does this to anyone else. That no one else has to suffer under his hand, or him violating their bodies again. That this would be the end of him assaulting people. #TimesUp.”

— “It feels there is a big level of responsibility there for me, to make sure this doesn’t continue. And he doesn’t continue to harm other people.”

Cal explained in its statement that this case goes beyond the athletic department for investigation.

The statement reads: “Our department policy states that once anyone in Cal Athletics is made aware of any instance or allegation of a violation of University policy involving a coach, staff member or student-athlete, those matters are referred to the appropriate departments on campus responsible for investigating them. Athletics does not have its own specific conduct process nor does it investigate allegations or cases on its own, but follows the University’s policy and works in concert with campus professionals who are responsible for those areas. All university staff are also required to complete sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention training, and those programs have increased in recent years. Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected. We encourage anyone who is feeling distressed or troubled to contact the PATH to Care Center and other campus resources.

“Layshia holds a special place in our history for her contributions to Cal women’s basketball both on and off the court and we are saddened to hear of the allegations that are coming to light today.”