The California Golden Bears just didn’t have luck on their side in the 123rd edition of the Big Game, falling to the Stanford Cardinal, 24-23. Special teams miscues and offensive mistakes did them in, ultimately, and the Bears dropped to 0-3 on the season.
The Bears utilized an impressive drive to start the game, finding the end zone on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Garbers to Kekoa Crawford.
The second drive witnessed a bit of the unraveling at the seams, however, taking a sack, a negative run play and a Garbers scramble on their way to a three-and-out. After allowing Stanford a field goal on their next drive, the teams settled in.
But then this happened.
Cal freshman RB Damien Moore out here stiff-arming 6'2, 230 Gabe Reid like it's nothing pic.twitter.com/dPwRhoYuB1— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 27, 2020
All good was essentially wiped away after it came, though, and the Bears ended three of their first-half drives with a punt, another with a blocked field goal attempt, and another one didn’t even get started after Nikko Remigio muffed a punt and relinquished possession back to the Cardinal.
The muffed punt led to a touchdown for Stanford and the blocked field goal to end the half also saw three points not hit the scoreboard, a total point swing of 10 points in the first half, but instead, the game went to the break tied at 10-10.
The second half continued a bit of the same after Marcel Dancy fumbled on Cal’s first possession of the third quarter, and that ultimately led to a Stanford touchdown. Despite a touchdown on their own next drive, Cal’s biggest blunder came two possessions later when a terrible decision by Stanford QB Davis Mills was intercepted but negated after a ticky-tacky holding penalty by Elijah Hicks negated the interception for Cal.
The drive continued for Stanford and led to a touchdown that would become the game-winner.
But it wasn’t the game-winner without drama after Cal marched 14 plays and 90 yards to score what would have been the game-tying touchdown had the extra point not been blocked with just :58 seconds remaining.
The second blocked kick of the game sealed the Bears fate who allowed miscues to cause an 11-point swing as Stanford capitalized on the mistakes and Cal couldn’t get back in it.
Cal QB Chase Garbers finished the game with just 151 passing yards on 19-29 attempts with two touchdowns but rarely got the ball downfield to make much of an impact. The Cal rushing attack finished with 241 yards on the ground including 121 yards from true freshman Damien Moore. He needed just 10 carries to reach 121 yards, so it’s a safe bet to assume the Cal offense will see more of him in the final two weeks of the year.
The Bears dropped to 0-3 on the season and will face off against Oregon next week, December 5, at a time still to be announced.