Bay Area Sports Beat: What You Need to Know Right Now


For the third consecutive year, it appears highly unlikely that the Pac-12 will be represented in the BCS National Championship Game.

After Thursday night, not a single you-know-what was given about that fact in Palo Alto.

Hardly shock-the-world status, considering Stanford’s then-No. 5 ranking, but most expected the favored No. 3 Oregon Ducks’ offensive prowess to overwhelm the Cardinal.

Instead, Stanford methodically overpowered the visitors en route to a 26-20 victory, a scoreline that doesn’t appropriately illustrate how dominant the Cardinal were in victory.

Stanford held Oregon scoreless until a frantic final eight minutes that saw the Ducks go on a scoring rampage and scare many of the Stanford faithful in attendance.

Tyler Gaffney led the charge for Stanford in a game which the Cardinal were able to comprehensively overpower the line of scrimmage. Gaffney put in a workhorse effort, rushing a school-record 45 times for 157 yards.

“You control the line of scrimmage, you have a chance to win,” coach David Shaw told the San Francisco Chronicle.  

Oregon previously had averaged 56 points per game and saw Stanford as its final hurdle to overcome in order to play for college football’s greatest prize.

Instead, Stanford is both on track to potentially reach the Rose Bowl and has an outside shot at making the BCS National Championship Game if the three undefeated teams in front of Stanford (Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State) stumble.

Stanford was ranked No. 4 in the latest BCS rankings that were released on Sunday.

Across the bay, Cal couldn’t solve longtime Southern California nemesis, USC, as the Trojans ran the Bears out of their own stadium in a 62-28 blowout.

Speaking of offense…

The 49ers showed little of it on Sunday.

Winners of five consecutive games and coming off of a bye week, everything was stacked up nicely for the surging 49ers.

The Panthers-49ers showdown at Candlestick Park lived up to its billing as a battle of stout, physical defenses. Carolina proved the better of the two, shutting down an offense that had eclipsed 30 points for five consecutive games.

Colin Kaepernick, usually other-worldly good, was held to completing 11 of 22 passes for only 91 yards and an interception. The loss drops the 49ers to 6-3 overall and with Seattle winning, the 49ers are now two games behind their rivals from the Pacific Northwest.

Raiders squander game in New York

Struggling quarterback play was trending among Bay Area quarterbacks on Sunday. Much like Kaepernick, the Raiders’ anointed savior Terrelle Pryor under center muddled through a deflating 24-20 loss to the New York Giants that was there for the taking.

Oakland (3-6) was anchored by a stout defensive effort, but Pryor and the offense failed to substain any momentum. Pryor was 11-for-26 for only 122 yards passing.

“Couldas, wouldas and shouldas,” Pryor told the Chronicle. “It’s time to stop going to that.”  

The Raiders are now 1-11 on the road in the past two seasons.

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