Big Plays = Big Game Victory
STANFORD – The Cal football team made big plays to win the Big Game.
The Bears' offense registered three plays of at least 75 yards, and Cal took the annual rivalry against Stanford for the second time in three years in a 41-11 victory at Stanford Stadium on Saturday.
Wide receiver Trevon Clark and quarterback Chase Garbers connected for the longest pass play in Big Game history, an 84-yard touchdown pass that opened the scoring in the second quarter. Running back Marcel Dancy later added a 76-yard touchdown run while fellow running back Christopher Brooks reeled off a 75-yard run of his own, as the Bears opened up a 27-3 lead with 1:26 to play in the third quarter.
The chunk plays were part of a record-breaking performance overall by Cal's offense, which racked up 636 total yards – its most ever in the Big Game.
"We knew after Monday's practice that we were going to do something special today," Garbers said. "It's a great feeling to know that any play you could break one off and go the distance. Our intention was to obviously score touchdowns anytime we got the ball. I think we did a pretty good job of that."
The Bears (4-6, 3-4 Pac-12) rushed for 352 yards, the first time they've gained at least 300 yards on the ground since 2018. The 30-point victory is also Cal's largest in the Big Game since a 41-6 win in 2004.
Just as they did when Cal snapped a nine-game losing streak in the Big Game in 2019 with a 24-20 victory, fans stormed the field at Stanford Stadium to celebrate with the Bears.
"You could feel the energy on the field with the players, the alumni, the students, the fans and in this locker room," Travers Family Head Football Coach Justin Wilcox said. "It's a hard feeling to describe to somebody. I want our guys to soak it up. People can never take that from them. There's no substitute for it."
Both teams got off to an uneven start, with Cal's Lu Magia-Hearns III coming up with an interception on the second play from scrimmage. But the Bears' Damien Moore fumbled the ball away on the Bears' first play from scrimmage.
After Cal stopped Stanford on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line, the Bears drove to the Cardinal 19 before Garbers was intercepted.
The Bears turned back the Cardinal's offense again on another 4th-and-goal, this time from the 5-yard line, and that's when Cal's offense came to life. On first down from their 16, Garbers hit Clark perfectly in stride on a slant pattern and Clark ran untouched into the end zone for a 7-0 advantage early in the second quarter. It was part of a career-best performance for Clark, who finished with three catches for 135 yards.
"That's a play we practiced all week," Clark said. "They were playing man coverage and we knew we could take advantage of the middle of the field. As soon as I heard him call it, I knew I was going to score."
Cal led 14-3 at halftime and got a pair of field goals from Dario Longhetto to push the advantage to 20-3 with 4:40 left in the third quarter. Dancy then broke off his scoring scamper, which was the Bears' longest run since Brendan Bigelow had an 81-yard touchdown run at Ohio State in 2012. He also added a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Bears had two rushes of 75 yards or more for the first time since 2008 against Washington State.
"I could talk forever about Marcel Dancy," Wilcox said. "He's one of the most humble, hard-working guys. He epitomizes what Cal football is about. When you have a lot of depth at a position, sometimes guys don't get the reps they deserve. He's never once complained. For him to show up and have the game he did tonight, I couldn't be more proud of him."
The Bears return to action next Saturday night at UCLA. The game begins at 7:30 p.m. PT and airs on Fox Sports 1.