Cameron Scarlett scored two touchdowns, one on a 46-yard pass from J.J. Costello, and Jet Toner kicked three field goals Saturday afternoon, lifting Stanford to its ninth straight win in the annual Big Game, a 23-13 triumph over host California in Berkeley, Calif.
Toner converted from 26, 19 and 21 yards as the Cardinal (8-4, 6-3) prevailed in a game that had been postponed for two weeks due to unhealthy conditions created by fires in Northern California.
Both Stanford and Cal (7-5, 4-5) had entered the contest on two-game winning streaks and are bowl-eligible.
Costello’s hook-up with Scarlett came on Stanford’s second possession, after Toner’s first field goal, a 26-yarder, had opened the scoring in the game’s sixth minute.
Scarlett’s catch and run put Stanford up 10-0 with 4:37 remaining in the first period.
A 40-yard field goal by Cal’s Greg Thomas got the Golden Bears on the board with 10:14 remaining in the half, and Cal appeared headed for a tie when running back Patrick Laird broke loose on a long run later in the second period.
But Laird got hauled down at the Stanford 12 after a 62-yard scamper, and Cal got no closer than the 7 before Thomas was called upon for a second field goal, this one from 24 yards with 4:58 left in the half to get the hosts within 10-6.
Toner added his 19-yarder with one second remaining in the half, then a game-clincher from 21 yards with 3:43 left in the fourth quarter.
Scarlett assured Stanford would retain possession of “The Axe,” presented annually to the winner of the rivalry matchup, with a 3-yard run with 2:27 to go after Paulson Adebo intercepted a Chase Garbers pass and returned it 43 yards to the Cal 3.
Cal’s lone touchdown came with 10 seconds to go when Garbers hit Jordan Duncan from 11 yards out to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive.
Garbers finished 22-for-39 for 197 yards and the one score. He was intercepted twice as Cal turned the ball over three times in the game.
Laird was the game’s leading rusher with 116 yards on 19 carries.
Cal outgained Stanford 352-329.
Costello went 18-for-29 for 237 yards and his one TD pass.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside was the game’s top receiver with five catches for 109 yards.
Stanford’s Bryce Love rushed 22 times for 74 yards.
—Field Level Media