Football notebook: Will Sonny Dykes talk contract with his boss Sunday?

After he was finished taking questions from reporters Saturday night, Cal coach Sonny Dykes had a brief exchange with athletic director Michael Williams as they were exiting the interview room.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” Williams told him.

The conversation likely will focus on Dykes’ contract situation. He has two years left on his original five-year deal, and Williams said early in the week the school has begun negotiations to extend his contract.

Even at 6-5 overall, the Bears’ results this season have been mixed. Cal started 5-0, but has dropped five of its past six games. The Bears are bowl eligible for the first time since 2011, but the loss to Stanford dropped them to 0-9 in Dykes’ three years against their in-state rivals from the Pac-12.


The Bears played without running back Daniel Lasco, whose sprained ankle is the latest injury to derail his senior season. Sophomore Tre Watson filled in nicely, running 14 times for 87 yards a week after he gained 110 in a win over Oregon State.

Cal also played without two starting defensive players: safety Damariay Drew and defensive end Jonathan Johnson, both out with knee injuries, and junior running back Khalfani Muhammad, sidelined by a foot injury.

Lawler (bruised buttocks) was on the field for just one play all night.


Quarterback Jared Goff threw a pair of touchdown passes, boosting his career total to 85. That ties him for fifth-most in Pac-12 history, alongside a pair of former Arizona State quarterbacks — Rudy Carpenter (2005-08) and Andrew Walter (2001-04).

Goff’s 386 passing yards push his career total to 11,191, which elevates him to No. 6 on the Pac-12 charts.


Sophomore place-kicker Matt Anderson hit field goals from 20, 28 and 25 yards. He is 14 for 17 on the season, including eight in a row.


Cal entered the game tied for fifth nationally with 24 takeaways. But the Bears squeezed no turnovers out of Stanford and have just six in their past six games.


Football: Cal loses sixth straight Big Game

The Cal football team got what it wanted in the 118th Big Game – a chance to win. The Bears could not convert it in a 35-22 loss to Stanford on Saturday night.

Down just 21-16 entering the fourth quarter, the Bears could almost taste their first victory in the series since 2009.

“Guys were excited. You could look at everyone’s eyes and they believed we were going to win,” senior safety Stefan McClure said. “That was a moment we really trained all year for. Fourth quarter against Stanford with a chance to compete.”

Instead, it was Stanford that closed out the game, scoring touchdowns on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter to leave the Bears frustrated by their own mistakes.

Quarterback Jared Goff was sharp for the Bears (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12), completing 37 of 54 passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns. Cal outgained Stanford 495 yards to 356. The Bears didn’t turn the ball over a year after giving it up five times.

The game was nothing like the previous two seasons, when the Bears were outscored 101-30. But there were issues that decided the outcome.

Cal converted just one of five red-zone chances for touchdowns – settling three times for field goals.

“We’re normally really good in the red zone. Today we weren’t,” Goff said. “Missed opportunities. Three scores that could have changed it.”

The Pac-12’s third-least penalized team, Cal was flagged eight times for 63 yards.

“There were a lot of little things,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in his opening post-game remarks. “The officials, er rather the penalties, killed us. Didn’t give us a chance to win the game. It was tough to overcome that.”

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Football: How Cal, Stanford match up

RECORDS: Cal is 6-4, 3-4 in Pac-12; No. 15 Stanford is 8-2, 7-1.

KICKOFF: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at Stanford Stadium.

TV/RADIO: ESPN/810-AM & 1050-AM

SERIES HISTORY: Stanford leads 60-46-1. The Cardinal has won five in a row, including 38-17 last season.

STORYLINES: The combination of a Stanford victory or an Oregon loss would clinch the North division title for the Cardinal. … Stanford is No. 11 in the College Football Playoff rankings and must run the table to remain in the discussion for a semifinal berth. … This is the fifth consecutive season Stanford lost the game before facing Cal. … Stanford is 12-1 following a loss under coach David Shaw. ….Eligible to play in a bowl game for the first time since 2011, Cal will try to boost its standing among Pac-12 teams headed to the postseason. Bowls assignments are made on the basis of conference wins and Cal currently is tied for seventh. The Sun, Las Vegas and Cactus bowls have the Nos. 5 through 7 slots on the Pac-12 bowl ladder. The Bears could also slide to an at-large berth with a bowl that does not have a contract with the Pac-12. . . This could be the final Big Game for Cal junior quarterback Jared Goff, who will decide after the season whether to enter the NFL draft.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: WR Kenny Lawler (buttocks), RB Daniel Lasco (ankle) and Saf Damariay Drew (knee) are questionable; Stanford: DT Harrison Phillips (knee) and CB Ronnie Harris (ankle) are out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s defense vs. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey. The Bears are just two weeks removed from allowing Oregon a school-record 777 yards of total offense, including a whopping 477 on the ground. McCaffrey, one of the nation’s most versatile and prolific players, can carve them up if the Bears aren’t sharp. He leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 2,418 – already a Stanford record with two regular-season games to play – and has strung together eight straight 100-yard rushing games. Against the league’s other two elite backs – Oregon’s Royce Freeman and Utah’s Devontae Booker – the Bears surrendered 402 rushing yards.

CAL STATS THAT MATTER: Goff is 26 for 50 for 376 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns in two games against Stanford. The Cardinal is the only team he’s faced in the Pac-12 against whom he hasn’t thrown two TDs in a game at least once. . . . . Goff has set 26 Cal records, including career passing yards (10,805) and touchdowns (83). . . . Cal is tied for fifth nationally with 24 turnovers gained, but has just six in the past five games. . . . The Bears are 0-8 against the Pac-12’s in-state schools the past three seasons.

STANFORD STATS THAT MATTER: The 201 points Stanford has scored against Cal the past five seasons are the most either team has rung up over any five-game stretch in Big Game history. . . . . Stanford leads the Pac-12 in third-down conversions (49.6 percent) and third-down defense (34.8). . . . Stanford is 6-0 this season in night games. . . .Stanford is third in the conference in rushing (225.1 ypg). Cal is ninth in run defense (199.1). . . . Quarterback Kevin Hogan is 32-10 as a starter.


Big Game live updates: Cal vs. Stanford, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) claps after defeating Oregon State at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. California defeated Oregon State 54-24. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) claps after defeating Oregon State at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. California defeated Oregon State 54-24. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Get in-game news and analysis from the 118th Big Game at Stanford as the Cardinal face the Bears at 7:30 p.m.

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Basketball: Cal overcomes shooting woes to topple ECU

Warts and all, it was a victory Cal coach Cuonzo Martin was happy to pocket.

The No. 15 Bears labored against East Carolina’s zone defense, shooting 3 for 23 from the 3-point arc and turning the ball over 15 times. They also missed 12 free throws and allowed the Pirates to stay close until pulling away for a 70-62 win in front of an announced crowd of 8,658 fans at Haas Pavilion on Friday night.

“I’d always like to be on the winning side of learning lessons rather than the losing side. You want this early,” Martin said.

Freshmen Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown each had double-doubles and senior Tyrone Wallace made four free throws in the final 40 seconds as the Bears held off the visitors from the American Athletic Conference.

“We just have to get better,” said Wallace, who finished with 20 points. “I think it’s good to be tested. Our shots weren’t falling. We faced a little adversity. But never once did we have our heads down.”

Rabb overcame foul trouble with post 14 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots, and Brown had 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Bears crushed the Pirates (2-1) on the boards, outrebounding them 45-26, including 19 offensive rebounds that led to 24 second-chance points.

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Football: Goff, Hogan fit in nicely among top Big Game quarterback matchups

Here is the story colleague Jon Wilner and I put together on the top quarterback matchups in Big Game history:

Smack in the middle of preparations for the latest installment of their ancient rivalry — precisely when vitriol should rule the day — Cal and Stanford are showing each other a little love, particularly at quarterback.

Cal’s Jared Goff praised Stanford’s Kevin Hogan to the top of Tightwad Hill and back prior to the 118th Big Game, while Hogan talked in glowing terms about Goff’s talent and humility.

The coaches went one better. Stanford’s David Shaw called Goff “the kind of guy you root for,” while Cal’s Sonny Dykes suggested Hogan, not Oregon’s former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, has been the best player in the conference over the past three years.

“He gives them a chance to win every Saturday,” Dykes said, “and that’s about the best thing you can say about a quarterback.”

There’s plenty to say about Hogan and Goff entering Saturday’s showdown at Stanford, including this: They form the Big Game’s best quarterback matchup this century and one of the greatest in series history.

The list, it turns out, is shorter than you might think.

The schools have produced a long line of stellar passers. But many of the greatest (Frankie Albert, Bobby Garrett, Craig Morton, Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck) didn’t face an elite quarterback on the other team.

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Basketball: Tyrone Wallace ratchets up his game

Cal senior point guard Tyrone Wallace says the improvement in his game this season is the result of the company he’s keeping.

With more talent around him — including standout freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb — Wallace says there is less pressure to carry the offense for the 15th-ranked Golden Bears.

“My confidence in all these guys is extremely high,” he said. “I may look better running the position. It’s because I don’t have to force. I can find guys who are open. It probably makes me look better.”

Teammate Sam Singer says Wallace isn’t giving himself enough credit.

“I’ve had to guard him the last few years in practice. As hard as it was last year . . . now, if he’s hitting his free throws and making his shot from the outside, he’s really hard to guard because he penetrates so well and is able to finish with either hand. I’ve seen a big improvement.”

Heading into play Friday night against East Carolina (2-0), Wallace was averaging 22.0 points and a Pac-12-best 7.5 assists for the 2-0 Bears — both way up from a year ago when he was an all-conference selection. An erratic shooter throughout his career, he was converting 68 percent from the floor and nearly 86 percent from the free throw line. His assist-to-turnover ratio: 7.5 to 1.

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Football: Big Game sons learned well from fathers

Here is staff writer Dan Brown’s story on Big Game fathers and sons:

The 118th Big Game at Stanford Stadium this week is besotted with players who have an Axe wedged somewhere in their family tree.

Jared Goff’s father, for example, was an All-America catcher at Cal, which is why the quarterback has been a Bears fan since birth.

Jerry and Nancy Goff even guided their son through a pivotal moment for any young Cal disciple, a Play date.

“The first time I saw ‘The Play,’ I was told about the meaning of it,” Jared Goff said this week, recalling Cal’s five-lateral miracle to beat Stanford in the 1982 Big Game. “It’s obviously one of the best, if not the best, play in college history.”

Then, breaking into the iconic call of radio man Joe Starkey, Goff added: ” ‘The band is on the field!’ and all that stuff.”

Click here to read the rest of this story.


Football: Daniel Lasco, Kenny Lawler and Damariay Drew all questionable for Cal in Big Game

Cal could be without three significant players for the 118th Big Game at Stanford on Saturday.

Running back Daniel Lasco (ankle), wide receiver Kenny Lawler (bruised buttocks) and safety Damariay Drew (knee) all are questionable, Cal coach Sonny Dykes said Thursday evening. He said all three would be re-evaluated after Friday’s practice.

Lasco, who rushed for 1,115 yards a year ago, has struggled to stay healthy all season. He has missed two games and rushed for just 331 yards.

“We’ve just had a hard time getting him back and rolling,” Dykes said. “It’s disappointing for us and disappointing for him because he’s such a good player.”

Dykes said running back Khalfani Muhammad (foot) is cleared and will play. If Lasco is shelved, the carries will be shared by Muhammad, Vic Enwere and Tre Watson, who rushed for a career-high 110 yards last week.

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Football: Jared Goff No. 2 on Mel Kiper Jr.’s QB draft list

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest rankings of the top NFL prospects at quarterback:

1. *Paxton Lynch, Memphis
2. *Jared Goff, California
3. Carson Wentz, North Dakota St.
4. Connor Cook, Michigan St.
5. *Christian Hackenberg, Penn St.
6. Dak Prescott, Mississippi St.
7. *Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
8. Cody Kessler, USC
9. Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
10. Trevone Boykin, TCU

*Player has a year of eligibility remaining.