BERKELEY -- Stopped a few inches short of the end zone a week earlier -- officially, at least -- Stepfan Taylor would not be denied Saturday.

Stanford's senior tailback took a handoff at the 7-yard line late in the first quarter, started right, cut left, dodged a defender and then bounded into the end zone.

After nearly nine quarters on the road, Stanford finally had an offensive touchdown. It added two more in a 21-3 victory over Cal on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

"We didn't want to be the class that gives the Axe away," Taylor said. "The seniors made a point of keeping the Axe. The defense played their tails off, and the offense played well enough."

Taylor was superb, rushing for a career-high 189 yards -- the fourth-highest total by a Cardinal in the history of the Big Game.

The performance vaulted Taylor past Toby Gerhart and into second place on Stanford's career rushing list. He needs 418 yards to break Darrin Nelson's school record (4,033).

"He doesn't have any fanfare, he just comes to work," Stanford coach David Shaw said.

And when Taylor is churning for yards, points usually follow.

"He's the key cog to the offense," tight end Zach Ertz said. "We feel like when we can get (Taylor) going, it sets up everything else."

  • Although the Bears (3-5, 2-3) must win three of their final four games to become bowl eligible, coach Jeff Tedford said their full attention will be on their next game -- Saturday at Utah.

    "I have confidence our team will come back to work and focus and prepare," he said. "We can't look at the big picture. It's one game at a time."

  • Cal played without starting linebackers Brennan Scarlett and Jalen Jefferson, who were injured a week earlier against Washington State.

    Scarlett broke his right hand for the second time this season and underwent surgery Wednesday. Jefferson sat out with a concussion. Both should return at some point this season, Tedford said.

    There were more injuries Saturday: Linebacker Chris McCain (ankle), running back C.J. Anderson (shoulder and knee) and nose guard Viliami Moala all were helped from the field.

    Tedford declined to place blame on Cal's schedule, which features games in 12 consecutive weeks without a bye.

    "We're not making any excuses," he said. "We're banged up. That's how football is."

  • Stanford (5-2, 3-1) did not sustain any significant injuries, Shaw said.

    Receiver Ty Montgomery (knee), who has missed the past two games, is expected to return Saturday against Washington State.

  • Cal junior wide receiver Keenan Allen entered the game needing six receptions to equal Geoff McArthur's career school record. Allen finished with four catches for 43 yards, giving him 200 receptions for his career.

  • Stanford has not lost back-to-back games since the middle of the 2009 season.

  • Cal senior guard Dominic Galas, who had missed the first seven games after tearing a pectoral muscle in July, made his season debut.

    Tedford wasn't prepared to evaluate Galas' performance, but said, "Dom competed hard."

    For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716. For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.