I considered Shane's Big Game performance one of the best Big Game Performances after it unfolded. Now it's topped the list as the decade's greatest. Berkelium97 submitted the original nomination.
I don’t necessarily consider this the best performance of the decade, but it’s definitely among the most memorable.
After Stanford whipped Oregon and USC in consecutive weeks, all the media could talk about was big, bad Jim Harbaugh and his unstoppable team. Writers praised Stanford’s tough, physical play, led most clearly by Toby Gerhart. Apparently Tedford had heard enough of this. During the week Tedford said that on that Saturday "we’re going to find out who’s physical."
Led by Vereen’s incredible 42 carries, Cal dominated the time of possession and manhandled Harbaugh’s team. Run after run, touchdown after touchdown, Vereen was unstoppable. Vereen stole the spotlight from Stanford’s Heisman candidate and will no doubt be forever remembered by Cal fans for this legendary performance. If there was ever a performance that best exemplified Joe Kapp’s slogan "The Bear will not quit, the Bear will not die," it was this one.
Now you've voted it as the greatest performance of the decade! Click after the jump to see who the runners-up were!
Finishing just behind Vereen (literally, a few first place ballots would've pushed him over the top) was Aaron Rodgers's incredible 2004 game in the Coliseum. FiatSlug with the nomination (Kodiak with the assist).
29-34-0, 267 yards, 1 TD
It may not seem like much of a line when you look at the yards and the 1 TD. But Rodgers’ execution was the difference between Cal having a clear shot at winning at the end of the game and simply not having nearly enough time to make a run at beating U$C.
Rodgers’ performance was nearly enough to overcome horrendous punt coverage that allowed a U$C TD and the loss of Chase Lyman to a broken leg in the first half.
A gutty performance on a big stage that nearly knocked the eventual national champion from its perch. Had Cal won, Cal would have had a clear path to a berth in the BCS National Championship game.
3rd place was Natalie Coughtlin's six medal performance in Beijing. CruzinBears with the nomination:
4 to win six medals in one Olympics. She was elected joint captain of the US women’s swimming team together with five-time Olympian Dara Torres and four-time Olympian Amanda Beard.12 Coughlin won the gold medal in the 100 m backstroke at those Games, becoming the first woman to retain the gold medal position in that event. She had lost her world record to Kirsty Coventry, the eventual winner of the silver medal, in the semi-final. When receiving her medal, her lip was still bleeding where she had bitten it during the race to distract her from the pain in her legs.13 She won a silver medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay, swimming with Lacey Nymeyer, Kara Lynn Joyce and Dara Torres, and also won bronze medals in the 200 m individual medley, 4×200 m freestyle relay, and the 100 m freestyle. She won a silver medal in her final race in the 4×100 medley relay swimming with Rebecca Soni, Christine Magnuson, and Dara Torres."
Now that’s one hell of a swim meet!
Fourth place went to Jahvid Best running up the yards on a hapless Washington squad. sycasey was succinct in his nomination.
311 yards, 4 TDs. ’Nuff said.
Good, until you realize it was only in a small segment of the game, adds CruzinBears
a day’s2.5 quarters of work
Fifth place was Leon Powe at the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament against Oregon. LeonPowe nominated Leon Powe here.
41 points (double OT)
Tightwad Hill revisited that game when they named Powe the 7th greatest Golden Bear hoopster ever.
My enduring memory of Leon Powe is that overtime game with Oregon in the Pac-10 semifinals last year. My friends and I kept waiting for Leon to get tired, even though we almost sixty games of experience to suggest that wouldn't happen. We kept waiting for him to miss some shots from the floor - that didn't happen either as he would up 14-17. Maybe he'd start missing free throws? Turn it over? No. He drew charges, hit his free throws and pulled down rebounds. He willed his team - our team - into the conference final.
Afterwards we realized that we were watching a test. The game, the situation, the lack of support from his teammates - all of these things were testing Leon Powe as the night grew shorter. And Leon kept doing everything right. When he finally left with a minute left, cradling his injured shoulder, many Duck fans joined in the standing ovation. We had forgotten - my friends, myself, and the rest of the Staples crowd - that Leon Powe had been tested many, many times before.