Football: Pac-12 says instant replay crew erred on two of three Cal touchdowns reversed in Big Game

The Pac-12 Conference said its instant replay crew made errors on two of three Cal touchdowns that were overturned during Saturday’s Big Game against Stanford, commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday.

The Bears trailed 31-7 late in the third quarter when they apparently scored three touchdowns in a span of four plays. All three were overturned after video reviews.

“Through the Conference’s officiating and game management review process, it was determined that there was not enough evidence through video replay for the instant replay crew to overturn the second and third touchdown calls made by the officials on the field,” the Pac-12 said in a news release, noting that to reverse an on-field ruling, the replay official must be convinced beyond all doubt by indisputable video evidence.

The touchdowns that were overturned were Luke Rubenzer’s 1-yard quarterback sneak and Jared Goff’s 16-yard pass to Kenny Lawler. Cal settled for a field goal after the third TD was erased, and went on to lose 38-17.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes, asked about the calls immediately after the game, said, “I think it’s shameful myself.”

Dykes said Sunday he hadn’t changed his mind about the decision after watching tape of the game, but declined to comment on whether he’d filed a complaint with the Pac-12 office.

The Pac-12 said the replay crew would be held accountable through the conference’s disciplinary process.


Football: BYU game has added meaning for Wilfley

Growing up in Sacramento, Harrison Wilfley cheered for BYU and dreamed of playing football at the school both his parents attended.

But after Wilfley returned from a two-year Mormon mission to Uruguay, it was Cal that reached out first to the defensive end, and he has no regrets about taking the road less traveled by LDS students.

“It’s been a learning experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Wilfley said of his time in Berkeley. “I got to try something different (from) what I call the cookie-cutter route that most of the LDS guys do when they come back form their mission.”

Now, the experience comes full circle, as Wilfley and the Bears take on BYU in their regular-season finale Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

“I grew up a BYU fan, so it’s pretty cool,” Wilfley said of facing the Cougars. “I’m really excited.”

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Football: Dykes has no change of heart over officials’ calls, but encouraged by Bears’ response to Big Game loss

So what did Cal coach Sonny Dykes think 24 hours later about several officials’ calls that impacted Saturday’s Big Game against Stanford?

“Same thing I thought yesterday,” he said Sunday night.

But Dykes declined to comment on whether he submitted a report to the Pac-12 office on three third-quarter touchdowns overturned by official video replay or the targeting penalty that got safety Michael Lowe ejected after the game’s first play from scrimmage.

The league has asked that coaches use discretion on that issue rather than sharing their complaints publicly.

Cal (5-6, 3-6 Pac-12) returned to practice Sunday afternoon, beginning preparation for Saturday’s regular-season finale at home against BYU.

A victory over the Cougars (7-4) and Cal will be bowl eligible.

A loss and the Bears’ season is over.

Dykes said the team responded well a day after their 38-17 loss.

“I was a little bit concerned, quite frankly, because our guys played hard Saturday, invested a lot, prepared hard. We expected to play better.

“But we just walked of the practice field and I was pleased by how we practiced. I didn’t see any letdown or change in their mentality. That was encouraging.

“Hopefully, we’ll continue that and prepare at a high level for BYU.”

Defensive end Harrison Wilfley said that after the Stanford game Dykes said the “B” word.

“It was the tirst time he talked about the bowl game, and he said it would be the last time he talked about it as well,” Wilfley said. “Amongst ourselves, we’re well aware of what we have to do to reach a bowl.”


Football: BYU game set for 1:30 p.m. kickoff

Cal announced tonight that its game against BYU next Saturday at Memorial Stadium has been set for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

The game will be aired on the Pac-12 Networks.

Cal (5-6, 3-6 Pac-12) must beat the Cougars to become bowl eligible.

BYU (7-4) tuned up for the Cal game with a 64-0 win Saturday over Savannah State, an 0-12 FCS team that actually gave up 83 points in a game earlier this season.


Football: Big Game game thread

Click here to read my game story.

FINAL SCORE: Stanford 38, Cal 17. The Bears have lost five straight Big Games by a combined margin of 201-75. At 5-6 overall, 3-6 in the Pac-12, Cal must beat BYU next Saturday in Berkeley to become bowl eligible.

Cal  will enter that game having lost five of six games after a 4-1 start to the season.

Lasco’s 12-yard TD run in the fourth quarter marked the 10th straight game he has scored a touchdown. He had 103 rushing yards on the day.

THIRD QUARTER: Stanford 31, Cal 10. One of the strangest third quarters in Big Game memory ends after four official video reviews in a span of 1 minute, 20 seconds. First three nullify apparent Cal touchdowns — twice on keepers by QB Luke Rubenzer, third on 21-yard pass from Goff to Lawler. Cal gets nod on last one, after successful onside kick try. Bears start fourth quarter on Stanford 39, but the gap is 21 points.

HALFTIME: Stanford 24, Cal 7. Three turnovers and the Bears are in a huge hole. Goff, who had not been intercepted since the final play of the UCLA, has two tipped passed picked off, both by LB Blake Martinez. He was also the guy who knocked the ball loose from Lasco on his aborted try to reach the end zone.

Cal’s defense has been what we knew it would be — Stanford has 275 yards and 24 points. Not as horrific as last season, but what everyone has come to expect. Kevin Hogan is 12 for 17 for 168 yards.

It’s the Cal offense that has allowed Stanford to seize control. The Bears have just seven points to show for 196 yards of offense, thanks to turnovers that are generously responsible for a 14-point turnaround (7 Cal didn’t get, 7 Stanford got).

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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: 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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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).


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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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)