Pride On The Line In The 'Big Game'
Nov. 17, 2000
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Randy Fasani's parents went to California. HespentSaturdays as a teen-ager going to Cal football games with his pals. Helookedup to the players.
'I was a die-hard Cal football fan,' he said.
So it will be a little strange when Fasani takes the field asStanford'squarterback against the Golden Bears Saturday in the 103rd annual meetingbetween the two teams. The Big Game is really big for Fasani.
'They'll root for Stanford,' he said of his parents. 'But my mom willprobably sneak in a couple of 'Go Bears!''
Last season, Stanford had the Rose Bowl on the line and won the BigGame31-13. The Cardinal have won five straight Big Games and nine of the last11.
Another victory against Cal would match the longest winning streak inthegame's history, which dates back to 1892.
It could also compensate for a rather disappointing season. TheCardinal are4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Pacific-10 Conference.
The high point was a 27-24 victory over then-No. 5 Texas back inSeptemberwhen DeRonnie Pitts caught a 15-yard pass with 1:12 left.
'It's been a season of great wins and kind of near misses,' said TyroneWillingham, who has won all of his Big Games as Stanford head coach.
Fasani missed three games because of a knee injury, and turf toe couldprevent him from staying in the game Saturday at Cal's Memorial Stadium. TheCardinal is 4-3 in Fasani's seven starts, averaging nearly 29 points and 412yards in total offense, and 0-3 without him.
'I'm going to try and tough it out and see if I can play a full gameagainst Cal,' he said.
Cal (3-7, 2-5) is looking at its fourth straight losing season. TheBearswon their opener against Utah but then struggled with a four-game losingstreakbefore upsetting then-No. 13 ranked UCLA at home.
'Both teams aren't going to a bowl game,' Cal sophomore quarterbackKyle Boller said. 'So this is our bowl game.'
Although the Big Game is not as high-profile a rivalry as, say, FloridaandFlorida State or UCLA and USC, it gained national attention in 1982 forwhat'scome to be known as 'The Play.'
Stanford had a 20-19 lead on a 34-yard field goal by Mark Harmon withfourseconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, Cal scored on an improbablefive-lateral,57-yard run that ended when Kevin Moen plowed over Stanford Band trombonistGary Tyrell - celebrating what he thought was a Cardinal win - and ran intotheend zone.
In fact, four Big Games have been decided on the final play. It's thoseendings that impress Cal senior tight end Brian Surgener.
'To me it's going to be the biggest game of my life,' he said. 'I'vewatched three Big Games slip out of our hands.'
Even if nothing is on the line except pride. Surgener, who is fromSouthernCalifornia, says the UCLA-USC rivalry doesn't come close.
'It's nothing compared to this,' he said. 'The alumni will always ask,`Were you on a team that won the Big Game?' I mean, that can get you a job.'
By ANNE M. PETERSON
AP Sports Writer