The Play II: Stanford wins the sequel


November 19, 1990

Eight years later, Stanford got even.

In 1982, California defeated Stanford on what has become known as "The Play," a five-lateral kickoff return through the Stanford band. On Saturday night, John Hopkins kicked a 39-yard field goal on the game's last play, as Stanford defeated Cal, 27-25.

But the key was what happened before Hopkins' kick.

"The way we won," said Stanford tailback Glyn Milburn, "this is the way to get back. This was the 'The Play II: The sequel.' "

"The Play II" stretched over about five minutes and encompassed not only four plays and two penalties, but several thousand Cal fans as well. Stanford pulled within 25-24 when Jason Palumbis threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Ed McCaffrey with 12 seconds left.

Stanford (5-6) appeared to be a loser when Cal's John Hardy intercepted Palumbis' two-point conversion pass in the right corner of the end zone.

Hardy ran onto the field with the ball, slapping the hands of many celebrating Cal fans, thousands of whom, including most of the Bears players on the bench, poured onto the field. They jumped up and down and created their own victory dances, unaware 12 seconds remained in the game.

It took several minutes to clear the field, and that delay saved the Cardinal. Cal (6-4-1) was penalized 15 yards, enabling Stanford to kick off from midfield instead of its own 35.

"I knew there was going to be a penalty, so if we recovered the onsides kick, I knew we would be in field-goal range," said Hopkins.

When Stanford's Dan Byers recovered an onside kick after the ball had bounced off several players, Stanford had the ball at the Cal 37. With time for one play, Palumbis threw a pass that fell incomplete. But Cal defensive lineman John Belli hit Palumbis after he threw, and was assessed a 15-yard roughing penalty, and the Cardinal had a first down at the Bears 22.

Hopkins then kicked the game-winner as time ran out, but Stanford Denny Green was not secure.

"I had my No. 1 security guy make sure the band was not on the field, and I had my No. 2 security guy make sure no players were on the field, because I wasn't sure if there was any time left on the clock," Green said.

* AUBURN: Tigers players have voted to accept a Sunkist Fiesta Bowl bid to play Louisville if one is offered, but only if they can make a difference and make a stand.

A divided vote was cast on the issue last week at a team meeting called by coach Pat Dye but presided over by team seniors. Their statement doesn't condone Arizona's vote against a holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. It only declares that they would play in the New Year's Day game if the invitation comes.

"We're going to make a stand. It's for the nation, not just for ourselves," said defensive back John Wiley. "We've got a chance to change the state of Alabama, the state of Arizona and the nation."

* VIRGINIA: Shawn Moore, a Heisman Trophy contender who suffered a dislocated thumb Saturday against Maryland, had ligament damage repaired and tiny bone fragments removed in an operation late Saturday night.

Moore definitely will miss Virginia's game Saturday at Virginia Tech, and coach George Welsh said he does not guarantee the senior will be available for the USF&G Sugar Bowl Jan. 1.

* HOUSTON: David Klingler needed to get his pitches in; that's why he threw a National Collegiate Athletic Association-record 11 touchdown passes in Houston's 84-21 rout of Eastern Washington Saturday.

"Nolan Ryan takes so many throws in a ballgame, and a quarterback needs to have so many plays a game," Houston coach John Jenkins said after Klingler stayed in the game until there was 8:24 left, also tying the NCAA record of 47 touchdown passes in a season (BYU's Jim McMahon, 1980).

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