STANFORD . (AP) — With star quarterback K.J. Costello knocked out of the season opener, No. 25 Stanford had to rely on its defense and running game to get the win in the season opener.
Costello threw a 2-yard touchdown pass before getting hurt on a late hit and the Cardinal used four turnovers and an improved running game to hold off injury plagued Northwestern 17-7 on Saturday.
“It’s what you want as a coach,” Stanford’s David Shaw said. “When things are difficult, I don’t have to turn into Knute Rockne. I don’t have to do all the talking. ... There’s no sense of panic. There’s a sense of we haven’t played well enough and they’re still in the game so we have to play better.”
Cameron Scarlett ran for 97 yards and a key first down late that helped run out most of the clock and then Casey Toohill helped seal the win for the Cardinal (1-0) with a strip sack of Hunter Johnson that led to a fumble recovery in the end zone by Jordan Fox with 20 seconds left.
Stanford had forced a punt by Northwestern on the previous drive to preserve a three-point lead.
Costello completed 16 of 20 passes for 152 yards and the TD pass to Michael Wilson that capped a 90-yard drive in the second quarter for the Cardinal (1-0). But his day ended early when he was hit with a forearm to the facemask while sliding on a scramble by Earnest Brown IV with just 2 seconds remaining in the first half.
CAL BERKELEY 27, UC DAVIS 13
BERKELEY (AP) — Christopher Brown Jr. had never been called into a postgame press conference before so the California running back needed a little help to get settled in.
The way Brown ran the ball in the Golden Bears season opener, he might as well get used to it.
Brown rushed for a career-high 197 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries in his first start, and California overcame a sloppy first half and beat UC Davis 27-13 on Saturday.
Brown, a seldom-used backup to Patrick Laird last season, provided the biggest spark and became the first Cal running back to go over 100 yards in his first start since Jahvid Best in 2008.
That was critical on a day when Cal’s passing game was hit-and-miss for most of the afternoon.
Quarterback Chase Garbers shrugged off two turnovers and completed 16 of 28 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns, both to Kekoa Crawford. Greg Thomas kicked a pair of field goals, including a career-best 47-yarder, as the Golden Bears won their third consecutive opener under Wilcox.