for this game

Stanford pulls out Big Game, stays alive in Pac-12 North

Nov 20, 2011 - 7:55 AM Palo Alto, CA (Sports Network) - "So, you're telling me there's a chance."

The line uttered by Jim Carrey's character Lloyd Christmas in the movie Dumb and Dumber surely applies to the eighth-ranked Stanford Cardinal, who kept their hopes of a Pac-12 North Division title alive with a hard-fought 31-28 victory over California in the 114th Big Game.

Andrew Luck ended with 257 yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-30 passing for Stanford (10-1, 8-1 Pac-12), which rebound from last week's home loss to Oregon.

The only way a berth in the inaugural conference championship game can happen now is if the Ducks lose their final game against Oregon State. The Cardinal received help on Saturday from Southern California, which emerged with a 38-35 win after Oregon's kicker missed a last-second field goal.

Stanford hosts Notre Dame next week to close out the regular season.

Zach Maynard matched Luck by throwing for two scores, but the Golden Bears' (6-5, 3-5) were denied a third straight win.

Stanford's halftime lead ballooned from 14-13 to 28-13 in the third quarter when Luck threw touchdown passes of four and 10 yards to Levine Toilolo and Ryan Hewitt, respectively.

California fumbled late in the third, but the Cardinal were unable to produce points off the turnover.

Maynard then guided the Golden Bears into the red zone before hooking up with Spencer Hagan for a three-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. A two- point conversion made it 28-21.

On its next drive, Stanford chewed up nearly eight minutes of the clock before Jordan Williamson kicked a 35-yard field goal with 3:07 to play.

California got a late TD run from C.J. Anderson, but the comeback bid ended when Stanford recovered an onside kick.

The Golden Bears fumbled the ball away on the game's opening drive and Stanford converted the turnover into a 34-yard touchdown run by Ty Montgomery.

California rebounded from the gaffe by scoring 13 straight points. After Giorgio Tavecchio booted a 25-yard field goal, Maynard found Keenan Allen for a 17-yard scoring strike with 5:53 remaining in the first quarter. A Luck interpection preceded the touchdown.

Tavecchio was good from 19 yards away to put the Golden Bears up 13-7, but Stanford regained the lead in the second quarter on Tyler Gaffney's six-yard TD run.

Game Notes

Stanford holds a 57-46-11 edge in the all-time series...Luck has now thrown 76 career TD passes, one shy of John Elway for the school record...Maynard completed 20-of-30 passes for 280 yards...Isi Sofele gained 84 yards on 22 carries for California.