Blocked PAT preserves Stanford’s win over Cal

Thomas Booker blocked Dario Longhetto’s potential game-tying extra-point attempt after a Christopher Brown Jr. touchdown run with 58 seconds remaining Friday afternoon, allowing Stanford to hold off California 24-23 at Berkeley, Calif., in the 123th edition of the Big Game.

Down 24-17 after Austin Jones scampered into the end zone for a Stanford touchdown with 1:51 left in the third quarter, the Golden Bears (0-3, 0-3 Pac-12) drove 90 yards in 14 plays for their late TD, capped by Brown’s 3-yard plunge up the middle.

However, Cal needed a successful PAT to set up overtime, and Longhetto, who earlier had a field goal blocked, couldn’t get his kick above the outstretched arms of the 6-foot-4 Booker.

Stanford (1-2, 1-2) then recovered an onside kick, preserving its 10th win in the last 11 meetings with Cal in the Northern California rivalry. The Bears ended a nine-year Big Game losing streak last season.

Jones finished with a team-high 72 rushing yards and two TDs for the Cardinal, who took advantage of a pass-interference call on Cal’s Elijah Hicks to negate an interception by Daniel Scott on their last scoring drive.

Jones also scored on a 2-yard run early in the third quarter, giving Stanford a 17-10 lead that Cal erased just 1:44 later on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Chase Garbers to Nikko Remigio.

Garbers finished 19-for-29 for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Cal’s Damien Moore was the game’s leading rusher with 121 yards on 10 carries.

Stanford’s Davis Mills threw for 205 yards and one TD on 24-for-32 passing. Neither quarterback had a pass intercepted.

The Cardinal’s Michael Wilson was the game’s leading receiver with seven catches for 88 yards and a TD.

Cal outgained Stanford 392-289 but committed both of the game’s turnovers on fumbles.

For the second week in a row, special teams haunted Cal in the first half and helped Stanford rally into a 10-10 tie at the intermission.

Garbers and Mills each had a TD pass in the half, with Mills’ 11-yard, game-tying scoring strike to Wilson coming after the Golden Bears’ Remigio had fumbled a punt at the Cal 16.

The Golden Bears later had a chance to take a halftime lead, but Stanford’s Curtis Robinson blocked a 32-yard field-goal attempt by Longhetto on the final play of the second period, retaining the 10-10 tie.

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