"Oh, the band is out on the field!! He's gonna go into the end zone!" After 31 years, still unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/GgmOh2vZJr— ESPN (@espn) November 20, 2013
"The Play (I was 12) obviously. It's something I have referenced through the years in coaching." -Dykes on which Big Games stand out to him— Cal Football (@CalFootball) November 19, 2013
Cal (1-10, 0-8 Pac-12), without a win this season against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, is a 31 1/2-point underdog — believed to be the biggest point spread in the 116-year history of the rivalry.
"We can go into the game with a nothing-to-lose mentality," coach Sonny Dykes said. "You can coach your players all week to not be afraid to make mistakes. You can play free. ... I think these guys will be more relaxed."
The team has been using the underdog label as motivation all week:
"Coming from the underdog scenario we are in gives us a little extra energy. We have nothing to lose, we are gonna go in and fight." -Goff— Cal Football (@CalFootball) November 19, 2013
"We will use it as motivation, that's the biggest focus this week, beating the odds & exceeding expectations." -Treggs on being the underdog— Cal Football (@CalFootball) November 19, 2013
"We are going to use that as motivation on Saturday." -Barton on being the underdog in The Big Game— Cal Football (@CalFootball) November 19, 2013
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"Particularly coming off a loss, our guys can't wait to get back on the field," [Stanfurd Coach David Shaw] said. "There's going to be energy, and there's going to be fire because it's the Big Game..."
"We've shown that we have weaknesses... Don't think for one second that we won't give this game everything we have."
"When we lose, he (Stanfurd QB Kevin Hogan) takes it hard, but then he comes back and has a great practice."
While Cal has had a boatload of injuries to key players this year, Stanford has had very few, most notably defensive end Ben Gardner's torn pectoral.
Starting cornerback Alex Carter will miss Saturday's game because of a concussion he sustained in the USC loss. He will be replaced by Devon Carrington.
In contrast to Stanfurd's senior-laden roster, Cal will bring a much less experienced lineup on Saturday:
Cal has a current offensive and defensive depth chart that features a combined total of 16 freshmen (9) and sophomores (7) listed as starters. Only 2 seniors are in that role.
Injuries have been a lingering issue all season, but Coach Dykes mentioned after Wednesday's practice that the team is finally getting healthier. Daniel Lasco and Darren Ervin should be available to play, but Chris Harper and Khairi Fortt will be limited on Saturday. Lasco, Ervin, and Fortt are the three players on this week's official injury report:
It wouldn't be Big Game week without in-practice traditions, including this creative one featuring the scout team:
And lastly, congrats to CGB alum and all-time bench press record holder ManBearCal: