The Big Game turned into the Big Blow Out, with seventh-ranked Stanford handing hot California its worse home loss in a long, long time.
Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes and led Stanford to scores on all eight possessions he played as the Cardinal beat the Bears, 48-14, on Saturday for its most lopsided win in the rivalry in 80 years.
Luck completed 16 of 20 passes for 235 yards and added 72 rushing yards. Stepfan Taylor ran for three scores as the Cal defense, which shut down No. 1 Oregon's high-powered spread offense in a 15-13 loss just one week ago, had no answers for Luck and the Cardinal's power game.
For Luck, it was a measure a matter of personal pride. He completed just 10 of 30 passes and threw a game-sealing interception deep in Cal territory with just over a minute left in last year's 34-28 loss at Stanford.
"I definitely had some motivation coming off last year's disappointment," Luck said. "That being said, it was a new year and you can't really dwell on the past too much. But I did get a little extra motivation from that experience."
About the only fight California mustered was delivered just before the pregame coin toss, when the Bears ventured onto the field as a group for some trash talking. Once the game was underway, Stanford had all the answers and refused to share.
"Our guys really kept their cool and I think that was a big difference," Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said. "They kept their poise. I don't like that kind of football where you try and talk and intimidate. Just play football. Shut up and play football."
That's what the Cardinal (7-1, 10-1) did to win for just the second time in the past nine games against the Bears.
Luck led the Cardinal on touchdown drives of 95, 86, 90 and 61 yards in the first half. He threw touchdown passes to Zach Ertz and Doug Baldwin and bowled over safety Sean Cattouse on a 58-yard run that set up Stanford's first touchdown.
"I didn't really get a good look at him before we came together," Luck said. "I just hit him and let physics take over."
Luck also engineered touchdown drives on the first two drives of the second half, then led the Cardinal to a field goal in the fourth quarter as the offense never slowed down until he left the game in the final minutes.
Luck has 24 touchdown passes on the season, tied for third all-time on the single season list. John Elway (1982) and Steve Stenstrom (1993) share the record at 27. Elway was a guest at the game, the first time he's been in Memorial Stadium since 'The Play' in 1982.
"They obviously have the best quarterback," Bears' coach Jeff Tedford said. "In my opinion, he's the best quarterback in the country. He's an accurate passer. He doesn't make mistakes. He puts the ball right between the numbers. He's big and strong. When he pulls it down, you can't arm-tackle him. He has speed and athleticism."
The Cal players decided in the morning they would all come out for the opening coin toss to challenge the Cardinal.
"We wanted to show we were emotional, we were here and we were ready to play this game," Cattouse said. "We wanted to let them know we were here."
The officials quickly defused the situation by calling offsetting personal fouls and ejecting Stanford reserve receiver Jamal-Rashad Patterson.
"When all that stuff happened, we kind of got anxious to get out there on the field," Baldwin said. "It kind of hyped us up a little bit more than we expected it to."
Cal quarterback Brock Mansion then fumbled two of the first three snaps from center, losing the second to set up a field goal by Nate Whitaker.
Richard Sherman intercepted a pass to end Cal's second possession. Stanford capitalized with a 95-yard TD drive, capped by Taylor's 3-yard run. The drive was highlighted by Luck's 58-yard run that included the shoulder knockdown of Cattouse.
It was the most points scored by Stanford in Big Game history, eclipsing 1996 (42-21) and 1981 (42-21). It is the sixth time Stanford has scored at least 40 points in the Big Game.
"We're capable of playing with some of the top teams," Sherman said. "All we can control is going out every Saturday and trying to win."
Stanford has scored 446 points on the season, second all-time in a season to the 2009 total of 461 points. It is also the 11th time Stanford has scored 30 or more, a school-record.
Stanford has now outscored opponents, 131-34, in the first quarter.