Jamie Roberts' appearance in the 134th Varsity match was cut short by a dead leg that could delay his debut for Harlequins.
Roberts was unable to return for the second half and watched from the sideline with ice strapped to his right thigh as his Cambridge team-mates succumbed to a 12-6 defeat by Oxford at Twickenham.
The 29-year-old had been pencilled in for his first outing for new club Harlequins in the Challenge Cup clash with Calvisano in nine days' time, but that date may now have to be revised.
Fly-half George Cullen emerged as the hero of a tryless afternoon after his four penalties steered Oxford to a record-breaking sixth successive victory in a fixture that dates back to 1871.
Oxford now have 59 wins from the rivalry, edging ever closer to the 61 held by Cambridge. There have been 14 draws.
Roberts was heavily involved early on with several carries and his sheer presence attracted defenders, creating space for his team-mates.
With his first touch of the ball he flattened opposite number Henry Lamont and the Oxford captain's afternoon was over.
One loose pass from the Wales centre saw an attacking move break down, however, with the ball landing at the feet of Oliver Clough as Cambridge sought to capitalise on a bright start.
A frantic opening eventually slowed, but there was little cohesion from either team in a low-quality half that finished tied at 3-3 with Cullen and Fraser Gillies exchanging penalties.
Oxford pummelled away at the line as the interval approached and pieced together an eye-catching passage of play down the left wing as backs combined wonderfully, but Cambridge's defence scrambled effectively.
Stevens nudged Cambridge 6-3 ahead and as a finely-poised third quarter came to an end Oxford had a superb chance to seize the lead only for full-back Matt Geiger to drop the ball over the line after slick handling had created a great chance.
Cullen succeeded where Geiger had failed, however, with two penalties in quick succession nudging Oxford clear.
Cambridge full-back Simon Davies tackled Henry de Berker in mid-air and was shown a yellow card as a result, before Cullen sealed victory with his fourth penalty.