Season snapshots: Cal football embarrassed by Bay Area rivals

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Kore Chan/Senior Staff

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The 116th edition of the Big Game couldn’t end soon enough for the Cal football team.

Stanford wideout Ty Montgomery bolted 31 yards on an end-around for a 7-0 Stanford lead exactly one minute into the game. Montgomery accumulated three touchdowns in the first 8:02 of the game, bookending his scoring barrage on a pass from Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan on a crossing route to increase the lead to 21-7. By the end of the first half, Hogan had thrown four touchdown passes and had gathered 295 passing yards, both personal collegiate highs.

“I don’t think anybody was stopping me,” Montgomery said. “I get that close to the end zone, I pride myself on scoring.”

Montgomery’s destruction of Cal’s ineffectual defense continued into the second quarter, with the wideout grabbing a short pass outside and running down the middle for a 72-yard score. But with time for one more snap in the second quarter, Montgomery caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Hogan on a fade, giving the Cardinal an incredible 42-13 lead heading into halftime.

“My job is to get the team ready to play,” said Cal head coach Sonny Dykes after the game. “Clearly, they weren’t ready to play. Clearly, I haven’t done a very good job.”

With more than five minutes left in the third quarter, Stanford set a new Big Game record of 49 points on a 58-yard touchdown run from Tyler Gaffney. The Bears continued to bleed, with Cardinal backup Francis Owusu making his first career catch, followed by a leaping 14-yard grab for yet another Stanford score.

The 63-13 final score produced the largest margin of defeat in the Big Game’s history. It also marked the Cardinal’s fourth consecutive Big Game win and gave Stanford an overall 59-46-11 series lead. Stanford’s box score outshined Cal’s in almost every fashion, including an impressive 11-17 on third-down conversions, compared to the Bears’ 2-13, and averaging 5.3 yards per carry to Cal’s 2.4.

The Bears began the 2013 season with one of the most inexperienced rosters in college football, which was married with one of the toughest schedules in the nation. A continuous stream of injuries to core players only further weakened a team struggling to survive on a lack of depth and diminishing morale.

The loss to Stanford was yet another chapter to a dismal season that placed Cal as a conference bottom-dweller and as one of the worst teams in college football. The Bears’ 4-20 record over the past two seasons marked the worst two-year period in the program’s history, definitively marking Cal as the laughingstock of the Pac-12. Despite Bears quarterback Jared Goff breaking Cal’s single-season record for passing yards with 3,508, any excitement was muted by the disappointment that began to crescendo through the year.

“In 20 years, it might be cool to look back on,” Goff said. “I’m pretty upset with the way the game went, the way our season went.”

This anticlimactic finale closed one of the worst seasons in program history, including 11 losses — the most in Cal football history. In addition to recording no conference victories, Cal ended the year without an FBS win for the first time since before 1900. It was only fitting that an embarrassing season would be capped by the team being routed by its perennial rivals.

“We know what it feels like to be the worst,” said former Cal quarterback Zach Kline after the game.

Contact Michelle Lee at [email protected].

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