Big Game Preview

![Note the terror in Nate Longshore’s eyes. (Paul Sakuma/The Associated Press)](/content/uploads/biggame.jpg)
Note the terror in Nate Longshore’s eyes. (Paul Sakuma/The Associated Press)
On Saturday, November 22nd, Stanford will take on the California Golden Bears in “The Big Game.” Last year, the Cardinal beat the Bears 20-13 at Stanford Stadium—causing the students to storm the field for the first time at the new stadium. While the history of this game is impressive and worthy of discussion, Stanford looks to have a shot at a respectable bowl by winning this match.

While last year’s Cal team was generally thought of as underachieving, this one has had an impressive start to this season. In addition to defeating UCLA and Oregon, Cal grinded out a challenging out-of-conference win against eighteenth-ranked Michigan State.

Like Stanford, Cal has employed something of a two quarterback system: Kevin Riley and Nate Longshore have had roughly equal playing time this season. Cal’s breakout player is Jahvid Best, a tailback who averages over six yards per carry and had an 86-yard touchdown run against Washington State earlier in the season. Freshman backup rusher Shane Vareen has also been impressive with 558 yards already this season. On the defensive side of the ball, Cal has been able to win by stopping the running game. Having only allowed 1049 yards this season, its rushing defense is behind only USC and Oregon State in the Pac-10. How they match up against our own Toby Gerhart will likely decide the game.

While Cal does seem to present a relatively well-rounded team at the moment, it has shown a tendency to fade late in the season. Last year, the team finished its regular season with three Pac-10 losses— including the loss to Stanford. If Cal starts to lose its focus late in the season, we might all be planning a bowl trip over this winter vacation.

Big Game: A Retrospective

1892

Stanford 15, Cal 10

The first Big Game took place in San Francisco, an intentionally neutral setting. On Stanford’s side, future President Herbert Hoover was the team manager. A number of spectators watched the game from the roof of the Pacific Glass Works building, causing the roof to collapse. Thirteen people died and 78 were seriously injured.

1924

Stanford 20, Cal 20

Key scenes for the silent college- themed movie The Freshman were filmed at the Big Game in California Memorial Stadium. The movie was a hit, launching the career of Harold Lloyd and a wave of collegethemed movies.

1933

Stanford 7, Cal 3

This was the first year that the Axe got handed out to the winner. The winner retained the axe for upcoming year, the loser forfeited it, and a tie would result in the axe staying put at its respective location.

1974

Stanford 22, Cal 20

Mike Langford made a 50-yard field goal to give Stanford the victory with no time left.

1982

Not important.

1990

Stanford 27, Cal 25

Stanford battles back in the final seconds for the win. After scoring a touchdown with only 20 seconds left, pulling them within a point, the Cardinal recovered an onside kick. They quickly entered field goal position thanks to a “roughing the passer” call. Stanford then made a field goal to win with no time left.

2007

Stanford 20, Cal 13

Stanford snaps a five-year losing streak by hanging tough against Cal—the former #2 team in the nation.

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