The Big Game: Cal vs. Stanford

California hosts Stanford in this Saturday's 111th edition of the Big Game…

California vs. Stanford
TV/Time: ABC local/12:30 p.m. PT

The Series
Games Played: 110
Series Record: Stanford leads 55-44-11
First Meeting: 3/19/1892, Stanford, 14-10
Last Meeting: 12/1/07, Stanford, 20-13
Current Streak: Cal has won 5 of 6
Tedford vs. Stanford: 5-1

Stanford won 20-13 last year at Stanford Stadium for its first victory since 2001. Cal had won the previous five games by a combined score of 152-49. Prior to the Golden Bear run, the Cardinal had taken seven consecutive games. Jeff Tedford is 5-1 vs. Stanford and only Pappy Waldorf, who went 7-1-2 in the series from 1947-56, has more victories against the Cardinal among Cal coaches.

Most Wins by a Cal Coach in the Big Game
Pappy Waldorf 1947-56 7-1-2
Jeff Tedford 2002- 5-1
Stub Allison 1935-44 5-3*
Andy Smith 1916-25 5-1-1
*note: games not played in 1943-44 due to World War II

The Rivalry

The Big Game, dates back to 1892 and ties for the ninth-longest series in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 110 games played. Stanford leads the series, but Cal has prevailed in five of the past six games under head coach Jeff Tedford. He is 3-0 vs. the Cardinal in Memorial Stadium, having won by scores of 30-7 (2002), 41-6 (2004) and 26-17 (2006). Cal has not won four in a row over Stanford at home since taking five straight in 1952-54-56-58-60.

Five Cal-Stanford battles have been decided on the final play, with the most famous being the 1982 Big Game that finished with "The Play", the Bears' five-lateral kickoff return that ended with the Stanford Band out on the field. Overall, outcome has been determined by seven points or less 51 times.

5 Big Games That Have Been Decided on the Final Snap

1972 - California 24, Stanford 21 California drove 62 yards in the final 1:13 of the contest. The game ended with Bears quarterback Vince Ferragamo tossing a 7-yard touchdown to a diving Steve Sweeney for the final score.

1974 - Stanford 22, California 20 Stanford got a 50-yard field goal from Mike Langford on the final play to knock off the 19th-ranked Golden Bears.

1982 - California 25, Stanford 20 (The Play) Cal won the game, 25-20, following the miraculous 57-yard, five-lateral kickoff return now known simply as The Play. The sequence began with a Stanford kickoff with just four seconds left on the clock.

1990 - Stanford 27, California 25 Stanford scored nine points in the game's final 12 seconds. The sequence included a Stanford score and a failed two-point conversion. The Cardinal recovered the onside kick, benefited from a Cal penalty and connected on a 37-yard field goal on the game's final play.

2000 - Stanford 36, California 30 (OT) The Cardinal prevailed in the first overtime game in Big Game history.


The Bears and the Cardinal play for the Stanford Axe, which was actually unveiled on the eve of an 1899 baseball game between the schools. Stanford students used the Axe on a straw man dressed in blue and gold at a pre-game pep rally. During the game, blue and gold ribbons were cut into pieces with the Axe, and the Axe was used to chop wood, signifying a good play by the Indians. When Cal rallied for a dramatic win, an emotional group of Bears grabbed the Axe and transported it via ferry to Berkeley and placed it in the safe of a Berkeley bank. It was removed once a year for the Axe Rally. By 1933, each side decided the Axe was a fitting Big Game trophy. It is mounted on a plaque that lists the game's scores.

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