Daniel Scott won’t ever forget this one, making a big difference in California’s 27-20 comeback victory over Stanford last Saturday in the 125th Big Game in Berkeley.
With his team down 17-6 early in the fourth quarter, Jack Plummer, the Golden Bears quarterback, cut into the deficit with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Monroe Young.
That’s when Scott, who grew up in South Pasadena playing youth sports before taking his talents to St. Francis High School in La Cañada-Flintridge, helped to change the outcome in a major way.
On Stanford’s next drive, backup quarterback Ashton Daniels took the snap, ran to the outside and had the ball stripped by Scott as teammate Jeremiah Earby picked it up, then knocked loose by Scott before it was scooped up by Jackson Sirmon, who ran it in from 37-yards out for a Bears’ touchdown.
It’s not everyday, a crazy play involving two fumbles leads to a score, but when these two teams meet anything can happen – case in point, “The Play,” perhaps college football’s most memorable ever celebrating its 40th anniversary on this day between the two schools. Highlights were shown throughout the telecast of the last second, five lateral, game-winning touchdown in 1982 between the two teams, won by the Bears as Kevin Moen crossed the goal line while the Stanford band was coming onto the field. Finishing off, Moen slammed into Cardinal trombonist Gary Tyrrell, the two developing a life-long friendship over the years.
Not quite reaching the proportions of “The Play,” it was indeed another wild one Saturday with Cal now leading 20-17 with 9:54 left to go in the game.
Stanford, with three more chances to score, was forced to punt twice and with just over two minutes to go Tanner McKee, in at quarterback, threw an interception to Scott, who helped set up Cal’s final scoring drive, a one-yard run by Jaydn Ott to lock up the Bears’ win.
“It was definitely a surreal moment,” said Scott in a press conference on Tuesday. “These are memories I will share with family and friends, even teammates at weddings going forward in our lives. It meant a lot. To see the smiles, not only on my teammates and coaches faces, but the Cal community, random people in the Bay Area, the joy it created just to keep the axe here, it meant a lot.”
In the rivalry game, the two teams play for the Axe, as part of a long tradition between the two schools.
Scott will play his final game in a Cal uniform on Friday when the Bears host UCLA. From there, Scott hopes to be drafted and playing on Sundays next season in the NFL.