What: The 123rd Big Game
When: Friday, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley
TV: KTVU (Ch. 2)
Records: Stanford (0-2 overall, 0-2 Pac-12 Conference), Cal (0-2, 0-2)
Series: Stanford leads 64-47-11 in the series that began in 1892 and is the longest rivalry on the West Coast. Stanford won the initial game of the series 14-10 on March 19, 1892.
Last meeting: The Golden Bears ended a nine-game losing streak with a 24-20 win at Stanford last year. Cal quarterback Chase Garbers scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 16-yard run with 1 minute, 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
At stake: The Axe
The Cardinal are coming off a de facto bye week after their game against Washington State was canceled due to COVID-19 issues. … Stanford rallied with two fourth-quarter TDs but lost at home to Colorado 35-32 on Nov. 14, its last game. … Senior quarterback Davis Mills leads a potent passing attack. After sitting out the season-opening 35-14 loss to 12th-ranked Oregon due to COVID protocols, Mills completed 31 of 56 passes for 327 yards and a TD against Colorado. Eight players had receptions, including a team-best eight by senior wide receiver Conor Wedington for 77 yards. Junior WR Michael Wilson led the Cardinal with 95 receiving yards on six catches. … Davis was also Stanford’s leading rusher with 39 yards on six carries. The Cardinal mustered just 70 yards on 21 carries. … The Cardinal have struggled defensively, giving up 496 yards to Oregon and 432 to Colorado. Stopping the run has been especially troublesome, with Oregon racking up 269 yards and Colorado 177.
The Bears will be playing their first home game after having their first two games of the season wiped out due to COVID (they played at UCLA in a quickly scheduled game for their opener). Cal lost a heartbreaker last week as Oregon State rallied for a 31-27 win. Top running back Christopher Brown Jr. and three starting offensive linemen missed the game and then starting center Michael Saffell was injured in the first half. Still, the Bears were productive on offense, putting up 439 yards and dominating time of possession (38:06-21:54). Junior QB Chase Garbers completed 28 of 42 passes 315 yards and three TDs and two interceptions. Senior WR Keoka Crawford, who played his first two seasons at Michigan, set career highs with 10 catches and 141 yards. The running game was also effective against the Beavers, with senior Marcel Dancy — starting in place of Brown — gaining 76 yards on 17 carries. Cal ran 38 times for 124 yards against Oregon State.
— Steve Drumwright, Special to The S.F. Examiner