With offensive explosions in the first and fourth quarters bookending a stagnation of scoring in the second and third, Stanford football (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) hoisted the Axe and claimed its ninth straight Big Game victory over the California Golden Bears (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) this past Saturday by a score of 23-13. Coming off of a two-game win streak and sporting a Pac-12 leading defense, Cal may have had its best chance in years to surprise the Cardinal and snap a nearly decade-long streak of Big Game dominance, but came up short in a defensive standoff.
When the sun sets on 2018, Stanford football (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) will look for its first win over Pitt (7-6, 6-2 ACC) in 90 years. For the second time in three years, the Cardinal will fly to El Paso, Texas for the Hyundai Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
“Well, it’s called the Stanford Axe for a reason,” said offensive coordinator Tavita Pritchard. A quarterback during his time at Stanford, Pritchard continued, “It belongs here, so we’re going to do everything in our power to keep it here where it belongs.”
It’s been a disappointing season for Stanford football. Last week’s 48-17 win over Oregon State makes it look a little better, but the Cardinal are still just 6-4 on the year, with a 4-3 record in Pac-12 play. Those four regular season losses are the most since 2014, and with three games left to play, it could easily become the worst season for Stanford since 2008 in Jim Harbaugh’s second year. The Cardinal came into the season with high expectations which their 4-0 start only elevated, but since then, they have not managed to live up to those expectations.
Stanford football enters the Big Game this year with the same record as the Cal Golden Bears for the first time in what seems like forever. The playing field is level, and everything is on the line. The Cardinal have an eight game winning streak in progress, and look to make it nine. Cal has a strong defensive identity and a bowl game for the first time since 2015. Two teams enter, one team leaves. The Daily’s King Jemison, Andrew Tan, and Gregory Block share their thoughts on the aerial strength of the Stanford offense, the Big Game finale for Bryce Love, the meager Cal offensive attack, and how everything (and I mean everything)could go wrong.
Whether you’ll be making the trek up to Berkeley or escaping the still-questionable air quality at a watch party, the 121st Big Game is upon us. With the pressure of finals on hiatus for one much-anticipated week of break, Saturday’s game is perfectly timed to attract fans of all intensities and levels of knowledge. For some, the game is just one of many opportunities to don body paint and cheer on the Card with routine fervor.
Stanford 20, Cal 23
I want Stanford to win as much as the next person, but unfortunately, I already know exactly how this game is going to play out. Step one: Stanford comes out of the tunnel and plays abysmal offense with their flawed offensive line, as they try to run Bryce Love 20 times before the half. They pick up three first downs and are shut out in the first half. Step two: Our lack of a pass rush makes Chase Garbers look like Aaron Rodgers; he carves us up to the tune of two touchdowns and three field goals. Step three: Trailing 0-23 at the half, KJ Costello will emerge from the tunnel like the second coming of Andrew Luck and lead the most immaculate comeback attempt in Big Game history. It will be breathtaking. Step four: Lance Anderson’s halftime wizardry solves all of the defense’s problems and they shut out Cal in the second half. Step five: The comeback falls just short for any number of reasons. Unfortunately, this has been the script of every Stanford performance, and we already used up our miracle in Oregon.
’Twas the week before Big Game And all over the Farm Each student was in a frenzy In apparent alarm. Would the Big Game be canceled From all the smoke in the sky? Would we lose our one chance To see Cal’s Theta Delta Chi? The postponement was abysmal Even for a nerd.…