BERKELEY — It wasn’t The Play, but Cal found some Memorial Stadium magic to win the 125th Big Game.
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the five-lateral kickoff return that has become part of football lore, linebacker Jackson Sirmon picked up the second fumble on the same play and ran 37 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in a 27-20 victory on Saturday.
The Bears (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) ended a six-game losing streak and beat Stanford for the second year in a row and the third time in four seasons. But it wasn’t easy.
The Cardinal (3-8, 1-8) led 17-6 entering the fourth quarter and still were in front 17-12 when Sirmon and the Cal defense made the play of the game.
Stanford reserve quarterback Ashton Daniels, used primarily as a runner, tried getting around left end on a keeper but had the ball jarred loose by Cal safety Daniel Scott.
Cal freshman cornerback Jeremiah Earby scooped up the fumble and ran 3 yards before losing it after being stopped by Daniels. The ball bounced into the hands of Sirmon, who dashed untouched for 37 yards into the end zone with 9:54 left.
Jack Plummer threw to Jaydn Ott for the two-point conversion and a 20-17 lead.
Safety Daniel Scott ended Stanford’s last real threat, picking off Tanner McKee and returning the interception 40 yards to the Cardinal 9-yard line with 2:16 left. Ott went across on a 1-yard dive three plays later to make it 27-17 with 58 seconds left.
Stanford’s Joshua Party made a 61-yard field goal on the final play of the game.
Plummer passed for 280 yards for the Bears and Ott rushed for 99 yards — all in the second half.
Dwight Garner, key figure in Cal football history, dies at 58
Letters: Federal lottery | Port Chicago 50 | UCLA’s move | Foreign aid | Ideas prevail | Trump’s bid
Pac-12 recruiting update: Big weekend of visitors for Washington, Oregon, Cal and UCLA
Cal has secret advantage over Stanford in Big Game
Sports …read more
Source:: The Mercury News