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Cal Set To Host 123rd Big Game On Friday

Nov 24, 2020

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BERKELEY - Cal will play their home opener against Stanford in the 123rd edition of the Big Game. The game will kick off on Friday at 1:30 p.m. and be telecast live on FOX. 

THE BIG GAME RIVALRY 
- Stanford leads the all-time series 64-47-11.
- Cal won the 122nd Big Game in 2019 to break a nine-game losing streak to Stanford in the series. 
- This will be the 123rd playing of the Big Game, the oldest rivalry in the west. The Big Game began in 1892, the second-oldest rivalry in the west is the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State, which began in 1894.
- The 122 prior meetings is tied for sixth amongst the most played rivalries. Oregon-Oregon State have met 123 times, the most in the Pac-12. 
- Cal and Stanford have played every year since 1892, with two three-year exceptions from 1915-17 and 1943-45 due to World War I and World War II. The two have played continuously since 1946. 
- This is the first time the Big Game will be played during Thanksgiving Week since 1973, when the game was played on Saturday, Nov. 24, two days after Thanksgiving. 
- The two teams have played 55 games that have finished with a seven-point differential or less, including last year's seven-point contest. 
- The first incidence of card stunts was performed by Cal fans at the halftime of the 1910 Big Game. Card stunts have been a tradition at Cal home games ever since. 
- Cal WR coach Burl Toler III caught a touchdown pass in the 2004 Big Game vs. Stanford. His grandfather Burl Toler was the first NFL umpire to ref a game and was honored at the Rams-Bucs MNF game this week. 
- Cal last won a Big Game at California Memorial Stadium in 2008, a streak of five straight losses at home. 

CAL TO OFFER FANS UNIQUE VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE ON GAMEDAY
- Normally, Big Game week offers fans numerous opportunities to celebrate the rivalry. Each year there is a Cable Car Rally, followed by a rally in Union Square in San Francisco. Cal also hosts a tree-chopping rally, a night rally and a Big Game rally at the Greek Theatre. With everything going virtual this year, Cal's Rally Committee will host the Big Game Rally virtually on Friday morning. 
- Cal is also offering fans a special Virtual Ticket, where they get commemorative items including a replica ticket to the game, Cal has sold more than 26,000 virtual tickets so far. 
- Fans can follow the game on the team's virtual gameday page: Calbears.com/VirtualGameday
- The Rally Committee will have a card stunt in the student section on the east side of the Stadium. 
- Fans have the opportunity to purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves to be present at the game, more than 1200 fans, former players and notable alumni will be present to cheer on the Bears. 

BIG GAME MEMORIES
- 1972 – Steve Sweeney hauled in the game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game to beat the Cardinal, 24-21. 
- 1982 – The five-lateral, 57-yard kickoff return for a touchdown through the Stanford Band that lifted Cal to a 25-20 victory over Stanfor. "The Play" is considered by many to be the greatest play in college football history.
- 1986 – In one of the biggest upsets in Big Game history, backup quarterback Kevin Brown and linebacker Hardy Nickerson led the 2-9 Bears to a 17-11 win in outgoing head coach Joe Kapp's final game.
- 2003 – Aaron Rodgers threw for 359 yards and three TDs while Geoff McArthur had a school-record 16 catches for 245 yards and two scores in a 28-16 win.
- 2009 – Mike Mohamed had a game-saving interception on Cal's three-yard line inside of two minutes to play while Shane Vereen rushed a career-high 42 times for a season-high 193 yards and three TDs in a 34-28 win.
- 2019 – Chase Garbers had a 16-yard rush with 1:16 remaining in the game to break a nine-year losing streak to Stanford and give the Bears a 24-20 victory. 

THE STANFORD AXE
The Stanford Axe, the trophy awarded to the winner of the Big Game every year, actually made its debut on the eve of a baseball game between the rival universities on April 13, 1899. On that afternoon at a pre-game rally, a group of Stanford students introduced the instrument to decapitate a straw man adorned in California blue and gold, much to the delight of the Indian faithful who chanted "Give 'em the axe" while the proceedings continued. The next day, Stanford rooters taunted their Cal counterparts by cutting pieces of blue and gold ribbon with The Axe and using it to chop at a designated piece of wood whenever the Indians made a good play. Cal rallied for an upset over Stanford and the Bears' fans were so overcome with emotion that a group of Cal men wrestled The Axe away from the Stanford students and smuggled it across the bay via ferry. The Axe was placed in a safe at a Berkeley bank, to be removed once a year for the Axe Rally. By 1933, both sides decided that The Axe would make an ideal Big Game trophy. It was mounted on a plaque that lists the scores of each game since 1933.