3:30 PM ET, November 20, 2004
Memorial Stadium, BERKELEY, CA
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- A blowout victory in the Big Game has always been a perfect way to end a season at California.
Except these Golden Bears aren't done yet. After a 41-6 win over Stanford on Saturday, they started smelling roses.
J.J. Arrington ran for 169 yards to set Cal's single-season rushing record, and the fourth-ranked Bears earned their biggest victory since 1930 in their biggest rivalry. With each big run, big pass and big defensive stop in the Big Game, Rose Bowl president Dave Davis was ever more impressed.
"That's pretty much the best way you can leave on Senior Day," said Geoff McArthur, who caught five passes to set Cal's career record for receptions. "Beat Stanford, play pretty well, score a bunch of points and take The Axe home -- it doesn't get any better than that."
Aaron Rodgers passed for 120 yards and a score for the Bears, who kept their Bowl Championship Series hopes thriving with their sixth straight victory.
If the Bears (9-1, 7-1 Pac-10) can beat Southern Mississippi in their hurricane-postponed regular season finale on Dec. 4, they're the odds-on favorites for their first trip to Pasadena in 45 years.
"It'd be the greatest," Arrington said. "You always dream about playing in the Rose Bowl. We haven't really talked about it as a team, but we can probably talk about it now. We've still got a long way to go, but I hope we can make it happen."
Arrington and McArthur hit the biggest milestones, but they weren't the only Bears with a Big Game to remember.
Freshman Marshawn Lynch rushed for 122 yards on just nine carries, including a spectacular 55-yard touchdown run. Lynch also threw a TD pass as the Bears racked up 474 total yards in coach Jeff Tedford's third straight victory over Stanford in the 107th edition of the rivalry.
Despite the impressive final score, it might have been Cal's ugliest win of the season, with little offensive rhythm and 26 combined penalties for 228 yards. Things got ugly in the final minutes, with Stanford's Leigh Torrence landing the most egregious of several cheap shots by both teams.
"I don't know how it started," Tedford said. "I don't know if it's frustration. I don't want to point fingers at them, but I just hope our guys didn't do anything we can't be proud of."
T.C. Ostrander passed for 148 yards for the Cardinal (4-7, 2-6), who finished their third straight losing season under coach Buddy Teevens with just 180 yards of total offense. Stanford hadn't lost the Big Game this decisively since a 41-0 defeat 74 years earlier.
"They're all hard, (but) certainly in a rivalry game like this, you'd like it to be a contest throughout the ballgame," said Teevens, whose future will be decided by athletic director Ted Leland next week.
"At the half, we felt we had an opportunity. They played much better than we did in the latter portion of the game."
Thousands of Cal fans stormed the field after the game ended, but two phalanxes of policemen and security personnel prevented any trouble from breaking out. The goalposts remained intact for practice on Monday.
With a sellout crowd of 72,981, Cal set a new record for average attendance and went unbeaten at Memorial Stadium for the first time since 1950. But those fans were nervous until the Bears took a big lead in the third quarter.
Freshman Robert Jordan caught an early touchdown pass for Cal, and McArthur finished with 195 catches to surpass Dameane Douglas' career receptions record -- but the Bears were carried by their dynamic rushing duo.
Arrington had his 10th 100-yard game of the season, and he made a 33-yard run shortly before halftime to surpass Chuck Muncie's single-season Cal rushing record of 1,460 yards in 1975.
Arrington, a late-surging Heisman Trophy candidate with 1,584 yards, is the only running back in the NCAA to gain at least 100 yards in all of his games this season.
But Lynch made the play of the game with his tackle-breaking touchdown run, giving Cal a 20-3 lead and providing another glimpse of the Oakland native's potential. If Arrington wasn't setting records for Cal this season, Lynch might be having a freshman year to match Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson and Michigan's Michael Hart.
Moments after Arrington ran for a 9-yard score with 12:53 to play, Lynch faded back for a TD pass to Burl Toler, who has barely played in his senior season because of a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Stanford struggled to maintain the simplest drives against Cal's suffocating defense.
"I don't want to put the blame on anyone," said Stanford receiver Evan Moore, who had just one catch. "It goes on everybody. There's just so many things that go into a passing game and a running game. "
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-17||4-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||8:45||ROBERT JORDAN 29 YD PASS FROM AARON RODGERS (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 29 yards.
|FG||2:34||TOM SCHNEIDER 42 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 45 yards.
|FG||0:20||MICHAEL SGROI 21 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 54 yards.
|FG||8:38||TOM SCHNEIDER 28 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||3:22||MARSHAWN LYNCH 55 YD RUN (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||1:18||MICHAEL SGROI 44 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||12:53||J.J. ARRINGTON 9 YD RUN (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 87 yards.
|TD||9:26||BURL TOLER 20 YD PASS FROM MARSHAWN LYNCH (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 48 yards.
|TD||3:05||REGGIE ROBERTSON 5 YD RUN (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 41 yards.