Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
There have been a lot of historic contests in the Big Game rivalry between No. 23 Stanford and California that dates back to 1892, but Saturday’s contest in Berkeley rates as a first: the initial one ever played in October.
Neither team is happy about playing the 115th edition a month earlier than usual, but Pac-12 scheduling issues and the schools’ unwillingness to play two days after Thanksgiving prompted the mid-season date.
The Cardinal are coming off a controversial overtime loss to Notre Dame and haven’t scored a offensive touchdown in two road losses this season. The Golden Bears have won back-to-back games after a disappointing 1-4 start.
Stanford Cardinal (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12 North): The Cardinal experienced an emotional loss to Notre Dame when senior Stepfan Taylor was ruled to have not scored a touchdown on a fourth-down run in overtime.
Taylor has 657 yards this season and 3,427 for his career. He is 95 yards behind second-place Toby Gerhart (2006-09) on the school’s all-time list. Senior quarterback Josh Nunes threw two interceptions against Notre Dame and has six on the season against eight touchdowns.
The Cardinal rank seventh in the nation in stopping the run at 89.3 yards per game, but allowed a season-worst 150 against the Fighting Irish. Junior free safety Ed Reynolds has a team-best three interceptions and senior outside linebacker Trent Murphy has a team-high eight tackles for loss.
California Golden Bears (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12 North): The Golden Bears racked up a season-high 318 rushing yards while beating Washington State last week and are averaging 195 per game, third-best in the Pac-12. Senior C.J. Anderson rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns against the Cougars one week after recording a career-high 151 against UCLA.
Senior receiver Keenan Allen caught a season-high 11 passes for 166 yards against Washington State and has 196 career receptions, six behind the school mark held by Geoff McArthur (2000-04). Senior quarterback Zach Maynard has thrown 10 touchdown passes and been picked off seven times.
Junior cornerback Steve Williams and sophomore cornerback Kameron Jackson share the team lead with three interceptions.
1. Stanford leads the series 57-46-1 and has won the last two meetings but Cal is 7-3 against the Cardinal during Jeff Tedford’s tenure as coach.
2. The Golden Bears have forced eight turnovers (six interceptions, two fumbles) during their back-to-back wins.
3. Stanford is 14-3 when Taylor rushes for 100 or more yards in a game.