Cal makes Stanford work for it but falls in 120th Big Game

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Stanford Cardinal defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (66) and linebacker Kevin Palma (44) hold the Axe trophy as the team sings the Stanford fight song after beating the California Golden Bears, 17-14, at Stanford Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Stanford, Calif. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)
STANFORD – Within the rivalry’s 120th renewal, Cal returned to the Big Game on Saturday.

No. twenty Stanford acquired the final term within a 17-14 victory but not before the Bears did a thing they’ve rarely finished in latest Big Video games. They created the Cardinal sweat.

“I never know if I get into moral victories,” mentioned running back Patrick Laird, who rushed for 153 yards and Cal’s only touchdown. “At the top in the day, we choose our general performance no matter whether we get yourself a acquire or simply a loss.”

First-year coach Justin Wilcox underscored that bottom line: “We did not gain the game.”

Around the past 7 seasons – the past 4 below Sonny Dykes along with the to start with a few beneath Jeff Tedford – the Bears generally weren’t even competitive with their cross-Bay rival.

Stanford gained 6 of those 7 by double digits, including a 48-14 shellacking in 2010 along with a 63-13 embarrassment in 2013.
This
wasn’t that. This was a game … even when it wound up being the Bears’ eighth straight loss in the collection.

Wilcox used all 7 days referring to how the Big Game hoopla was perfect for the lovers, but the precedence for him and his players was preparing.

“We performed to gain and we experienced our possibilities. That’s why this one hurts a lot of,” Wilcox claimed. “A few plays in this article and there, on both sides with the ball, changed the result in the game.”

That bundled first-half scoring prospects exactly where the Bears settled for field aims as a substitute of touchdowns, Stanford star Bryce Love’s 57-yard landing operate in the third quarter and Ross Bowers’ intercepted pass during the fourth along with the Bears down just a few points.

“Don’t get me completely wrong, I like our men and the way they contend,” Wilcox claimed. “We just required a different participate in here or there. We didn’t fairly have it.”

The Bears (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12) close the frequent season Friday evening at UCLA, needing a victory to secure bowl eligibility.
“Got
to receive bowl qualified, received to receive this win, received to get this sense off us,” claimed Bowers, who finished 20 of 29 passes for 182 yards.

When Laird raced 39 yards towards the one, then piled more than from there with 4:02 remaining in the third quarter, the Bears trailed 17-12. Wilcox went for the 2-point conversion, and Bowers acquired it having a dash up the middle.

The Bears were positioned to consider the lead before Bowers coughed up the team’s only turnover. On third-and-11 within the Stanford 48, he underthrew a deep ball down the center to Jeremiah Hawkins and protection Ben Edwards intercepted with seven:25 to play.

“Losing is dropping, especially when that perform is certainly on you,” Bowers reported. “Wish I’d it back again.”

It had been a oversight the Bears could not overcome.

Stanford referred to as 14 straight operatesincluding three kneel-downs – to close out the game.

“We came up one play shorterthat is on us defensively,” linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk stated. “We’ve received to locate a solution to make that 1 play.”

• Matt Anderson kicked discipline objectives of 44 and 26 yards while in the to start with 50 percent to tie Cal’s vocation history of fifty six, established by Doug Brien. Anderson broke Brien’s occupation scoring file two weeks back towards Oregon Point out and now has 303 details.

• Laird’s 153 hurrying yards were probably the most by a Cal participant in the Big Game considering that Shane Vereen had 191 in 2009, the final time the Bears gained the Big Game.