Football: Latest on Big Game tickets and weather

From Cal athletics as of 11 a.m. on Friday: About 55,000 tickets have been distributed for Saturday’s Big Game.

That means a few more than 7,000 remain. Tickets available through www.calbears.com or 1-800-GOBEARS.

Weather: Expect rain through mid-morning in Berkeley on Saturday. But weather.com projects 63 degrees, partly cloudy and just a 5-percent chance of rain by kickoff at 1 p.m. By 2 p.m. and for the rest of the afternoon, no rain is expected.


Football: Big Game facts and figures


KICKOFF: 1 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

TV/RADIO: FoxSports1; 680-AM/810-AM.

RECORDS: Stanford 5-5, 3-4 in Pac-12; Cal 5-5, 3-5.

SERIES HISTORY: Stanford leads 59-46-11. The Cardinal won 63-13 last season and has won four straight.

STORYLINES: Both teams enter the 117th Big Game needing one win to become bowl eligible, in stark contrast to a year ago when Cal was on its way to a 1-11 season and Stanford headed toward a second straight Pac-12 title and fourth BCS bowl in a row … This marks the first time since 2003 that neither team has a winning record entering the Big Game and the first time in 35 seasons that both are exactly 5-5. . . . Cal, with just one player on its roster who has won The Axe, has been outscored 163-58 the past four seasons. . . . Stanford may need a victory Saturday more urgently than Cal in order to become bowl eligible. The Cardinal closes its regular season next Friday at No. 11 UCLA, while the Bears finish at home Saturday against a BYU team that is 2-4 since star quarterback Taysom Hill suffered a season-ending broken leg.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: LB Jake Kearney (abdomen) is doubtful; DT David Davis (knee) is out; Stanford: DL Aziz Shittu (knee) and FB Patrick Skov (undisclosed) are out. S Kyle Olugbode (undisclosed) is probable.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s defense vs. Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery. The Cardinal ranks just 10th in the conference in passing, which has diminished the numbers put up by its versatile and explosive wideout. But the Bears are last nationally in passing yards allowed, and were victimized last year by Montgomery, who caught five passes for 160 yards, including four touchdowns, and ran for a fifth score. Montgomery has added returning punts to his arsenal this season and has scored twice via that route.

STANFORD STATS THAT MATTER: Only one team, Oregon, has scored 30 or more points against Stanford this season … Stanford leads the Pac-12 in fewest points allowed (16.5 per game) but is last in points scored (23.9 per game) … Stanford has struggling with situational football, ranking 11th in the league in third-down conversions (37.8 percent) and last in red zone efficiency (66.7 percent) … Quarterback Kevin Hogan has six touchdowns passes and no interceptions in two Big Games … The Cardinal is 10-1 following a loss under coach David Shaw and 5-0 this season against unranked teams.

CAL STATS THAT MATTER: Cal has not won a game this season scoring fewer than 31 points . . . Jared Goff needs one touchdown pass to equal Pat Barnes’ 1996 single-season school record of 31. He has thrown 146 passes since his most recent interception, Oct. 18 against UCLA … Daniel Lasco is second in the Pac-12 with 13 touchdowns, including at least one in nine consecutive games. He needs 118 yards to become Cal’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2011. . . . A year after finishing last in the conference in red-zone efficiency (72.1 percent), the Bears rank second (90.5 percent).


Football: A victory in Big Game is all that matters to Bears for now — all the other storylines can wait

The big picture isn’t a priority. Bowl eligibility is a topic for another day.

All that matters Saturday to the Cal football team is the 117th Big Game.

“We absolutely hate Stanford. Everything about them,” junior running back Daniel Lasco said. “We respect them, but I can’t stand them. And I don’t think anybody on this team can stand them.

“That’s the priority — winning The Axe back and the tradition and the legacy and everything that’s happened in this stadium with Stanford. Everything else doesn’t matter.”

The Bears (5-5, 3-4 Pac-12) can secure bowl eligibility and no worse than a tie for second place in the Pac-12 North with a win over Stanford (5-5, 3-4) at Memorial Stadium.

But their attention for now is on ending a four-year losing streak to their cross-bay rival. Only one current Golden Bear has beaten Stanford.

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Basketball: Texas point guard to miss Cal game

News from New York City: Texas star point guard Isaiah Taylor will miss Friday’s 2K Classic championship game against Cal because of a wrist injury he suffered with 2 minutes left in the semifinal win over Iowa.

The game at Madison Square Garden will begin at 4 p.m. PT on ESPN2.

Dick Vitale, who is working the games for ESPN, reported the news via Twitter. Jeff Goodman of ESPN wrote that sources said Taylor will be sidelined for an extended period of time.

A native of Hayward, Taylor averaged 12.7 points and 4.0 assists as a freshman last season and is considered one of the nation’s top point guards. Taylor averaged 15.0 points through the Longhorns’ first three games.

Taylor is expected to be replaced in the lineup by Javan Felix, a 5-foot-11 junior who averages 9.0 points this season and scored 11.6 a game a year ago.

Despite the loss of Taylor, 10th-ranked Texas represents a huge challenge to the Bears. The Longhorns send out a starting frontline that goes 6-9, 285; 6-9, 240; 6-8, 240. Their top player is junior forward Jonathan Holmes, who averages 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds and is shooting 71 percent from the field.

The Longhorns also can go to a deep bench, led by 6-11, 240-pound freshman Myles Turner, one of the nation’s top recruits.

Vitale said Cal will need a strong game from its key players to upset the Longhorns.

“But California is so underrated,” Vitale said after the Bears’ 73-59 upset of No. 23 Syracuse. “No way, projected seventh in the Pac-12, they’re a seventh-place team. They’ll be in the upper part of that league, no doubt in my mind.”


Football: Big Game contrasts are stark

Saturday’s 117th Big Game gives us a tantalizing array of contrasts between Cal and Stanford.

Will the game be decided by a strong offense vs. a dynamite defense?

Or does the outcome hinge on a tepid offense vs. a wretched defense?

Here are some of the extreme statistical contasts:

* Cal is second in the Pac-12 in scoring (40.7); Stanford is first in scoring defense (16.5).

* Cal is second passing offense (352.8 yards per game); Stanford is first in passing defense (171.5).

* Cal has thrown 32 touchdown passes; Stanford has allowed 10.

* Cal is third in the conference in total yards gained (496.6 per game); Stanford is first in yards allowed (277.7).

* Cal is third in the Pac-12 in third-conversion rate (44.9 percent); Stanford is second in defending third down (35.0 percent).

On the other hand . . .

* Stanford is last in the Pac-12 in scoring (23.9); Cal is last in points allowed (39.7).

* Stanford is 10th in total yards gained (378.3); Cal is last in yards allowed (518.3).

* Stanford is 10th in the Pac-12 in passing offense (233.3); Cal is last nationally in passing yards allowed (375.9).

* Stanford has thrown 16 touchdown passes; Cal has given up 37.

* Stanford is 11th in first downs (19.6 per game); Cal is last in first downs allowed (28.1).


Basketball: Cal vs. Syracuse game thread


FINAL SCORE: Cal 73,  Syracuse 59. Jordan Mathews scored 21 of 22 points in the second half and the Bears (3-0) knocked off the No. 23 Orange (2-1).

Cal faces No. 10 Texas (3-0) in Friday’s 2K Classic championship game at Madison Square Garden. (ESPN2, 4 p.m. PT)

An early signature victory for new coach Cuonzo Martin, whose team was totally prepared for everything Syracuse threw at them, and stayed poised late at the most famous arena in the world.

After three losses to Syracuse since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Bears get over the hump.

“We lost to them the past two years, and with guys that were returning it plays on your mind,” said Martin, the former Tennessee coach. “But I thought our guys did a great job of accepting the challenge.”

Senior forward David Kravish had a David Kravish game — smart and controlled, contributing in so many ways: 12 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots. Jabari Bird, after a tentative start, keyed the run late in the first half that gave Cal separation and finished with 16 points, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

“It’s a big win for our program,” Bird said. “We came out here, we’re not ranked. We’re kind of an underdog team that’s going up against a great team in Syracuse.  They put up a great fight and we got a great team `W’ tonight.”

Point guard Tyrone Wallace had four turnovers and was in too much of a hurry a couple times, but still had 10 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals. He will play better, but he was fine.

The Bears got a terrific contribution from their bench: 7 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals.

Sam Singer had eight assists, four rebounds and two steals — a very strong effort. Freshman Kingsley Okoroh, the 7-foot-1 center from Britain, had four points, five rebounds and a block, and never backed down. Looked like he belongs.

Syracuse tried to press late in the game, but Cal handled that, too.

“I thought they did a great job,” Martin said of the performance. “The thing we talked about is, let’s finish ballgames. Whatever happens when we left the Bay Area we wanted to get better. When we land back in the Bay, we wanted to be a better basketball team regardless of the outcome.

“I thought we got better in this game.”

Cal shot 46.4 percent, including 8 for 19 from 3-point range. The Bears had 22 assists on 26 baskets — excellent ball movement against the vaunted Syracuse zone most of the night. The Orange struggled offensively, shooting 35.9 percent, including 4 for 17 from beyond the arc.

“They showed up tonight and we didn’t,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said.

Texas will be a load — they are huge. But Cal appears ready to take on the challenge.

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Football: Cal’s porous pass defense on record-setting pace entering final two games

Cal defensive backs coach Greg Burns, whose unit ranks last nationally in passing yards and touchdowns allowed, doesn’t spend a lot of time poring over statistics.

“I try not to look,” Burns said.

Then avert your eyes because the Bears not only are 125th among 125 FBS teams, giving up 3,759 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes, they are on pace to set all-time records of 4,511 yards and 44 touchdowns surrendered through the air.

Asked this week if his run-first Stanford team will go to the air more often in Saturday’s 117th Big Game at Memorial Stadium, coach David Shaw said things will be business as usual.

If that’s how things unfold, the Cardinal will buck a season-long trend.

Every FBS team Cal played has thrown more often and for more yards than its season average against everyone else. Even Washington State, which leads the nation in passing yardage, cranked it up a notch with a 734-yard outburst.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes appreciates a team sticking to what it does well, but sounds as if he’s ready for more of what he has seen all season.

“I would think they would be more inclined to throw the football against us, more than they have been, until we show we can stop it,” Dykes said.

The Bears have rarely stopped the pass this season. Teams have thrown for 33 percent more yards against Cal than against the rest of their schedule, generating an astounding 68 percent more touchdowns.

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Women’s basketball: Chris Dawson named to NCAA chair

Chris Dawson, former long-time athletic administrator at Cal, has been named to serve as chair for the 2015-16 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, charged with selecting and seeding the NCAA tournament field.

Currently an associate commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference, also is serving her fourth year as a member of the NCAA committee. Dawson will succeed current chair Dru Hancock, senior associate commissioner for the Big 12 Conference. She will officially become the 17th chair of the committee on September 1, 2015.

“It’s an honor to be selected by my fellow committee members to serve in this role,” Dawson said. “I look forward to our continued work together to enhance the game and create memorable NCAA tournaments for student-athletes and fans alike.”

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Basketball: Bears in NYC with notion to win

The Cal basketball didn’t trek to New York City this week for the weather. The Bears want to test themselves against high-level competition, and they want to win.

Cal (2-0) takes on No. 23 Syracuse (2-0) on Thursday night for the third year in a row, in the semifinals of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.

“Having a good tournament in New York would be huge for us, kind of show us where we are,” Cal senior forward David Kravish said.

The Bears lost to Syracuse in the 2013 NCAA tournament at San Jose, then again last season at the Maui Invitational.

“I remember thinking we should have beat them both times,” Kravish said of the defeats by margins of six and 11 points. “You don’t go into the season hoping to do anything. You go in expecting to win. We’re not putting all this work in to finish last or to lose games.”

A win over the Orange would advance first-year Cal coach Cuonzo Martin’s team to the Friday championship game against either No. 10 Texas (2-0) or Iowa (2-0).

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Football: Quarterback Jared Goff still getting used to being more than a face in the crowd on Cal’s campus

The face of Cal football still is getting comfortable with the idea that others around campus are beginning to recognize him.

Quarterback Jared Goff is no longer the anonymous kid from Marin County.

“I notice people kind of looking, whispering,” said Will Perry, one of nine guys with whom Goff shares a three-story house near the Cal campus. “They know who he is.”

Goff’s parents, Jerry and Nancy, have had the same experience while spending time on campus with their son. “It’s not like the 1964 Beatles are walking down Bancroft, but he’s a shy kid,” Jerry Goff said.

Goff squirms a bit when asked what it’s like when he’s approached by fans.

“It’s just kind of an awkward thing,” he replied.
For coach Sonny Dykes, who installed Goff as a freshman starting quarterback before the 2013 season, Goff is an ideal cornerstone for a developing program. The appeal is not limited to the sophomore already having thrown 30 touchdown passes this season and being on a pace to eventually break every Cal passing record.

“He’s kind of the golden boy Cal guy,” Dykes said. “Both his parents went to Cal. He grew up a Cal fan. He’s a tall, good-looking guy. If there’s kind of what you want a quarterback to look like, it would be him with about 25 more pounds.”

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Passing yards — game: 1st (527)

Passing yards — season: 1st (3,508)

300-yard passing games — career: 1st (11)

250-yard passing games — career: 1st (16)

Passing touchdowns — season: 2nd (30)

Passing efficiency — season: 3rd (152.37)

Passing efficiency — career: 4th (136.05)

Passing yards — career: 5th (6,906)

Passing touchdowns — career: tied 6th (48)