November 21, 1998
BERKELEY - A shot at a winning season and the schools first postseason appearance since the 1996 Aloha Bowl were both lost as Stanford defeated California, 10-3 in the 101st edition of the Big Game Saturday in Memorial Stadium. Cal, which opened the year with victories in four of its first five games, dropped to 5-6 (3-5 Pac-10) with the loss, while Stanford finished the season 3-8 (2-6 Pac-10) with the victory.
In typical Big Game fashion, this year's edition of the traditional Bay Area rivalry went right down to the wire. But as it has done for the past three Big Games, Stanford once again retained The Axe behind a stellar defensive effort that held the Bears to minus 36 yards rushing and just 198 total net yards, Cal's lowest offensive output of the season.
The Cal defense, however, more than held its own and deserved a better fate. Stanford entered the game averaging 25.1 points and over 400 yards a game, but was held to just 10 points and 309 total yards, including only 10 yards on the ground. John McLaughlin was the Bears leading tackler with seven total stops, including a pair for loss. Jacob Waasdorp, Mawuko Tugbenyoh and Andre Carter also pitched in with two tackles each in the Stanford backfield as the Bears tallied 10 tackles for loss on the afternoon.
Defense was the story throughout the game, but especially in the first half as both teams found little success moving the football. In fact, by halftime neither team had positive rushing yards.
Stanford opened the game with an impressive drive, moving the ball from its nine to the Cal 18, thanks to a 61-yard swing pass from quarterback Todd Husak to fullback Brian Allen. But Stanford would come away empty handed as place kicker Kevin Miller pushed a 35-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Taking over at its own 20, Cal put together its longest drive of the season, marching 64 yards in 17 plays and burning 6:18 off the clock. After reaching the Stanford 13, however, Vedder was sacked on consecutive plays pushing the ball back to the 33. A 17-yard Douglas reception on third and 33 moved the ball to the 16, but that's as far as the drive would go and the Bears had to settle for a 34-yard Ignacio Brache field goal and an early 3-0 lead.
Cal also looked impressive on its second possession of the game, moving the ball from its own 33 to the Stanford 38 on seven plays. But another sack of Vedder stalled the Bear drive forcing Cal to punt.
On Stanford's ensuing possession, the Cardinal once again drove deep into Cal territory. But like its first venture in to the redzone, Stanford came away without points thanks to another missed field goal by Miller.
The Cardinal did convert on its second drive of the second half, however, driving 67 yards on seven plays to take a 7-3 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the third quarter. A seven-yard slant pass from Husak to wide receiver Troy Walters capped the drive.
After holding the Bears following the ensuing kickoff, Stanford looked to add to its lead after moving from its own 26 to the Cal 25. But after an apparent Husak to Walters 25-yard touchdown was wiped away for pass interference, the Cal defense stiffened and forced Stanford to punt.
Taking over at its own 10-yard-line, Cal put together its best drive since the first quarter. Wide receiver Joel Young hauled in a career-long 43-yard strike from Vedder on 3rd-and-18 from the Cal 14 to move the ball into Stanford territory. A seven-yard Douglas reception and a 15-yard facemask penalty then moved Cal to the Cardinal 22. But two plays later, Stanford free safety Tim Smith picked off a Vedder pass intended for Douglas at the 10-yard-line, thwarting Cal's attempt to regain the lead.
Stanford was able to add to its lead, as the Cardinal marched 80 yards on 15 plays, taking a 10-3 lead on a Miller 18-yard field goal. But it could have been much worse for the Bears, as the Cal defense turned aside three Stanford rushing attempts from inside the five-yard-line to keep the score within a touchdown.
With less than three minutes to play, Cal finally got the break it was looking for when Deltha O'Neal busted a career-long 57-yard punt return, setting up the Bears at the Cardinal 31-yard-line with a golden opportunity to at least tie the game. After a first down, a sack of five yards and a pair of incompletions, the game came came down to a 4th-and 15 at the Stanford 25. With only 1:27 to play, Vedder looked to his left for Douglas but the pass fluttered to the turf incomplete.
Scoring Summary 1 2 3 4 - F Stanford 0 0 7 3 - 10 California 3 0 0 0 - 3
Qtr Time Play Score C 1 5:54 Brache 34 FG 3-0 Scoring Drive: 63 yards on 17 play, 6:18 S 3 10:28 Walters 7 pass, Husak 3-7 Scoring Drive: 67 yards on 7 plays, 2:25 S 4 8:42 Miller 18 FG 3-10 Scoring Drive: 80 yards on 15 plays, 5:07
Game Statistics Team SU Cal First Downs (rush-pass-penalty) 16 (3-10-3) 15 (3-9-3) Rushing (Att-Net Yds.) 33-10 28-minus 36 Passing (PC-PA-Int.) 19-41-0 24-44-1 Passing Yards 299 234 Total Offensive Plays 74 72 Total Offensive Yards 309 198 Punts-Average 7-39.9 7-44.4 Penalties-Yards 9-83 13-113 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0 Time of Possession 30:40 29:20
Individual Leaders RUSHING CAL: Fields 12-26 Oliver 2-2
STANFORD: Brock 5-21 Allen 15-6
PASSING CAL: Vedder 24-44-1 234 Yds. 0 TD/1 Int
STANFORD: Husak 18-38-0 295 Yds. 1 TD/0 Int. Borchard 0-2-0 0 Yds. 0 TD/0 Int.
RECEIVING CAL: Douglas 13-124 Young 3-59 White 3-22
STANFORD: Walters 9-106 Borchard 6-69 Brock 2-100