From a slew of team records to high praise from NFL scouts, Cal quarterback Jared Goff has just about had it all in his three seasons in Berkeley.
Everything except the one thing that Goff wanted as much as anything, something that former Cal greats Joe Kapp, Steve Bartkowski, Joe Roth, Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers had before him.
At least one victory over rival Stanford in the Big Game.
But unless Goff returns for his senior season, which is unlikely for the projected high first-round draft pick, his legacy will be half-empty. Stanford all but made sure of it in Palo Alto on Saturday night, when it led from wire to wire in a 35-22 victory that clinched the Pac-12 North title, its third in the last four seasons.
Goff didn’t disappoint anyone in the sellout crowd — 37 completions, 386 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions — but Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey matched him yard for yard.
McCaffrey rolled up a school record 389 total yards, as the Cardinal (9-2) kept their slim College Football Playoff hopes alive. Glyn Milburn had set the previous mark also against Cal in 1990.
“You know, I don’t want to be known as a guy that has done a bunch of records,” Goff said beforehand. “That’s something I’ve been fortunate to have with the type of offense we run and receivers we have. I’ve had some big numbers, but I want to win some games. We’ve got a few games left this season … and Arizona State will be a big one and the bowl game will be a big one.”
McCaffrey broke open a 7-3 game late in the second period, when he reached the end zone twice in a three-minute, 34-second span. He scored the first on a 49-yard screen pass from Kevin Hogan, the second on a 98-yard kickoff return.
McCaffrey finished with 192 yards on the ground, 49 in the air and 148 on kickoff returns.
Once again, the Cal defense didn’t have enough answers. It has allowed at least 30 points in five of its last nine games, numbers that have been too much for even Goff and the Bear Raid offense to overcome.