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Stanford vs. Cal Prediction, Game Preview

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Stanford vs. Cal prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Cardinal and Golden Bears.


When: Saturday, Nov. 19 – 5:30 p.m. ET
Where: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California
TV Broadcast: Pac-12 Network

Stanford (7-3) had a rough stretch in the middle of the season. After starting out 3-0, the Cardinal went 1-3 between Sept. 30 and Oct. 22. Since that loss to Colorado four weeks ago, though, Stanford has rattled off three consecutive wins over Arizona, Oregon State and, last weekend, Oregon. The Cardinal handled the Ducks with ease in Eugene, 52-27.

As for Cal (4-6), it is trending in the opposite direction. The Golden Bears teetered and tottered with an up-and-down season, going 4-3 in their first seven games. But Sonny Dykes’ crew has fallen in its last three matchups to USC, Washingon and Washington State. Last weekend, Cal fell in Pullman, 56-21.

The Cardinal leads the all-time series with the Golden Bears, 56-43-10. Stanford has taken the last six meetings with Cal, including last season’s meeting in Stanford, 35-22.

What To Know About Stanford

Keller Chryst did all he needed to do against Oregon, maybe even more than he needed to do. He completed 19-of-26 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those scores were caught by Michael Rector, who finished with four catches and 45 receiving yards. JJ Arcega-Whiteside also caught a touchdown pass and finished with four receptions for 106 yards.

The star, of course, was Christian McCaffrey. Stanford’s go-to playmaker racked up 135 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. His longest run of the day went for 61 yards. Bryce Love added 82 rushing yards on five carries, and Cameron Scarlett ran for 68 yards and a score on 14 touches.

What to Know About Cal

Davis Webb has been slinging the rock all season long, and it continued in the loss to Wazzu. Webb completed 34-of-53 passes for 425 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He found true freshman Demetris Robertson for one of those touchdowns. Robertson ended up with six grabs for 141 yards. Bug Rivera and Jordan Veasy caught the other two touchdowns and combined for nine catches and 102 yards.

On the ground, the Golden Bears never managed to find the end zone, but they did finish with 100 rushing yards on 30 carries. Tre Watson led the charge with 58 yards on 15 carries. Khalfani Muhammad ran for 28 yards on 11 touches, and Patrick Laird burst for 22 yards on two carries.

Advantages

Offense: Stanford – McCaffrey is the X-factor. He’s the game changer. He’s the star — end of conversation.

Defense: Stanford – Cal is dead last at No. 128 in scoring defense (45.6 points/game), and Stanford is No. 14 (19.4 points/game).

Special Teams: Cal – Matt Anderson has accounted for 92 points, and he’s hit 16-of-19 field goals with all three misses coming from outside 40 yards.

Coaching: Stanford – David Shaw has his team playing well after a rough stretch. Cal is also in danger of missing a bowl game.

Matchup To Watch

Keller Chryst vs. Davis Webb

We know McCaffrey is going to get the ball. We know he’s going to find the end zone and dazzle us with highlight plays. That’s a given at this point. But Chryst needs to play as well as he did against Oregon. If he can protect the ball and deliver dimes, then Cal will be in trouble. At the same time, Webb can single handedly throw the Golden Bears into the game.

Betting Odds

Spread: Stanford -10.5
Over/Under: 63.5

Stanford vs. Cal Prediction

Webb is going to fight through a shoulder injury and take the field for Cal. He’ll throw for another three touchdowns and at least 300 yards in this one, and one of those scores will go to Robertson. But it’s not going to be enough. The Cardinal will give McCaffrey the touches he needs both on the ground and through the passing game. Chryst will dump the ball off short and let his halfback do what he wants. McCaffrey will also gash Cal between the tackles. Stanford will go up by 14 at halftime and will hold on for the win.

Stanford vs. Cal Score Prediction: Stanford 45, Cal, 34

MORE: AP Top 25: Takeaways From Week 12 Poll

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