BERKELEY -- For two weeks, Cal appeared to correct its offensive problems. Then No. 22 Stanford came to town.

"Offensively, that was a poor performance," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said after the Bears lost 21-3 in the 115th Big Game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. "Couldn't block 'em, too much pressure on the passer, couldn't convert third downs. Just a really poor performance offensively."

The Bears (3-5, 2-3 Pac-12) had won two in a row and were positioned to become the first team in school history to get back to .500 after a 1-4 start. But they could do nothing against the Cardinal defense.

"Give them credit," Tedford said, "they were better than we were today. They won the line of scrimmage."

The earliest-scheduled Big Game in history was a disaster for the Bears, who lost to Stanford for the third straight year and failed to score a touchdown against their rivals for the first time since 1998.

"Very disappointing," Cal quarterback Zach Maynard said. "More disappointing than other games because it is the Big Game."

And more costly. Now the Bears must win three of their final four -- a stretch that includes games against No. 2 Oregon and No. 8 Oregon State -- in order to become bowl eligible.

"We still want to make a bowl game. That's still our goal," wide receiver Keenan Allen said.

Unless they remedy their issues on offense, it won't happen:


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  • After rushing for a combined 503 yards the past two weeks, Cal netted 3 rushing yards on 28 carries -- an average of less than 4 inches per attempt.

  • The longest gain on any of 19 carries by three Cal running backs was 4 yards.

  • As was the case early in the season, the Bears' problems began on first down. Until their final drive of the day, they totaled just 34 yards on 20 first-down snaps. Twelve of those 20 plays netted 2 yards or less.

    That set up difficult third-down situations, and the Bears converted just 1 of 14.

  • Cal had three turnovers, and Maynard was sacked four times, pushing the Bears' NCAA-worst total for that category to 33.

    It's not as if the Bears had no chances.

    Brendan Bigelow's 40-yard kickoff return gave them good field position late in the first quarter, but Cal went three and out. On Cal's next possession, Allen's 29-yard punt return and a 31-yard pass from Maynard to Bigelow gave the Bears a first-and-goal at the 2. After three running plays went nowhere, they settled for a 21-yard field goal by Vincenzo D'Amato.

    By halftime, the mistakes also included lost fumbles by Bigelow and Allen. The second of those was followed immediately by Josh Nunes' 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz, pushing Stanford's lead to 21-3 with 8:11 left in the second quarter.

    Neither team scored in the second half, but the Bears seemed just a play away from making it a game. They never made that play.

    With Cal facing a fourth-and-1 from its own 44 with just under 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Tedford called for a handoff to Isi Sofele. The Stanford defense was waiting, and Sofele lost 2 yards.

    "We needed a yard," Tedford said. "We had to come off and block and give the back a chance. He had no chance, really."

    Cal's best drive of the game was probably its last, going from its own 10 to the Stanford 11 after a great leaping catch by Allen for a 23-yard gain on fourth-and-6. Four plays later, Maynard tried to get the ball to Allen at the corner and was picked off by Wayne Lyons with 5:14 left.

    The result was just the fourth time the Bears have been held to three points in 138 games under Tedford.

    "This goes on everybody," Tedford said. "We need to do a better job as coaches putting them in places to be successful."

    For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.