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College football

Big second half gives Cal Big win

The Golden Bears' second straight victory against Stanford makes them bowl eligible.

By Wire services
Published November 23, 2003

STANFORD, Calif. - Geoff McArthur set a school record with 16 catches and scored twice as California scored all of its points in the second half to beat Stanford 28-16 Saturday in the 106th Big Game.

Aaron Rodgers passed for a career-best 359 yards and three touchdowns for Cal, which won its second straight in the series after a seven-game losing streak and became bowl eligible for the first time in seven years. Stanford was eliminated from postseason contention with its first home loss to Cal since 1993.

"It's music to my ears," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "I'm very proud of these guys. The sacrifice and the hard work they put in, it couldn't happen to a better group of guys."

McArthur, the nation's second-leading receiver behind Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald, had 245 yards on 16 catches, surpassing Dameane Douglas' 15 in 1998.

His 44-yard touchdown in the third was Cal's first score. The Bears dominated the rest of the game, with Vincent Strang's 14-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the fourth giving them their first lead.

The Bears had 533 total yards. In the first half, however, they didn't resemble the team that gained a school-record 729 yards last weekend against Washington.

Cal fumbled four times in the first quarter, losing three, and threw an interception early in the second against a defense that yielded 756 yards to Oregon State in a 43-3 loss last weekend.

After James Bethea fumbled the opening kickoff, Michael Sgroi kicked a 22-yard field goal. Adimchinobe Echemandu fumbled moments later, and Chris Lewis hit Luke Powell with a 24-yard touchdown across the middle.

Freshman Trent Edwards relieved Lewis in the fourth, but Sid Slater intercepted him on his first play. Moments later, McArthur slipped behind the secondary for a 21-yard touchdown and 21-10 lead.

Echemandu sealed it with a 17-yard touchdown run with 1:39 left.

[Last modified November 23, 2003, 01:46:45]

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