Cal Comes Up Short In Another Big Game Thriller
Nov. 18, 2000
BERKELEY, Calif. - Casey Moore caught a 25-yard touchdown pass onStanford's second play in overtime as the Cardinal beat California 36-30 onSaturday in the 103rd Big Game.
Randy Fasani threw three TD passes as Stanford (5-6, 4-4 Pac-10) beat itsoldest rival for the sixth straight time, matching the longest winning streakin the rivalry's history.
After the Stanford defense held Cal (3-8, 2-6) scoreless on the GoldenBears' overtime possession, Fasani found Moore wide open across the middle onsecond down.
Moore, who scored twice in last year's meeting between the bitter foes,scored two more times this year. The Cardinal celebrated in the end zone, thenran to the other end of Memorial Stadium and saluted their fans.
Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham has never lost to Cal in six meetings.
In last year's Big Game, Stanford clinched its first undisputed Pac-10 titlewith a 31-13 win. With both teams assured of losing seasons in 2000, nothingwas at stake this year but pride and bragging rights.
Cal fell behind 30-23 with 4:17 left when Stanford's Luke Powell caught ashort pass and raced 75 yards for a score. The Bears threw an interception butquickly got the ball back, and Geoff McArthur's 38-yard fingertip catch set upJoe Igber's 9-yard scoring run with a minute to play.
But Cal couldn't move the ball on its overtime possession, andMark-Christian Jensen missed a 42-yard field goal.
With its high-powered offense struggling all afternoon, Stanford stayed inthe game by blocking two punts and intercepting Cal quarterback Kyle Bollerfour times. Fasani, who was 12-of-23 for 242 yards, threw two TD passes in thefourth quarter.
Stanford senior defensive lineman Willie Howard got his first careerinterception and recovered a fumble to hurt the Golden Bears, who outplayed theCardinal much of the day but still surrendered the Axe for another year.
The schools have the West Coast's oldest football rivalry, and theCardinal's six straight wins tied the six victories recorded by Stanford in the1960s. Stanford has a 53-39-11 record in the series, which began in 1892 and istied for 10th longest in the nation.
Stanford's offense, ranked among the Pac-10's best all season, struggled allday against a fired-up Cal defense. But the Cardinal led 16-7 at halftimethanks to two blocked punts - one which was returned 20 yards for a touchdownby Colin Branch - and three interceptions, two by Stanford backup cornerbackBrian Taylor.
In the third quarter, Cal made consecutive scoring drives ending in a 3-yardTD reception by Joseph Echema and a 27-yard broken-field TD run by Igber.
That finally awakened the Cardinal, who made an 80-yard drive and scored ona 1-yard pass on fourth down to DeRonnie Pitts, who became the fifth Pac-10player to record more than 3,000 career yards receiving.
Cal kicked a 27-yard field goal to tie it before Powell caught a short pass,dodged two tacklers at the Stanford sideline and ran 75 yards for a score.Cal's first comeback attempt ended with Tank Williams' interception, butStanford couldn't move the ball and had to punt, setting up Cal's tying drive.
Fans from both schools engaged in the usual pregame hostilities. TheStanford band, which was banned from Memorial Stadium earlier this decade,performed a pregame routine in which it spelled out '1450' on the field,apparently mocking the Cal studentbody's lower average SAT scores.
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer