Leland Wong: Woohoo I'm gonna go for the easy answer and pick the 2009 Big Game. Vereen was forced to step up to fill the shoes of Jahvid Best and he did so with a monster performance to protect the Axe that will be immortalized as Big Game lore. Taken out of context, his stats are already solid and indicative of a workhorse effort: 1 catch for 10 yards, 42 rushes for 193 yards (4.6 ypc) and 3 touchdowns.
But when you remember he was supposed to be our number two that year, you see that he truly shouldered the load all on his own. QB Kevin Riley had a few scrambles for substantial gain, but the only other designed runs by running backs (Covaugh DeBoskie-Johnson and Isi Sofele) were to the tune of 3 rushes for a whopping 25 yards. The heart and the passion that he demonstrated on that day single-handedly provided a balanced offensive attack by making it easier for Riley to throw to our receivers. A lot of people will remember that incredible Big Game win for the Interception (and give credit for the win to Mike Mohamed), but we can't understate the importance that Vereen's running had on that day.
Trace Travers: For Shane, since everyone else will remember the 2009 Big Game, there was the 2008 Michigan State game. Jahvid was the more hyped sprinter, and he did things that made made him the most electrifying man in college football. But to ice the game, we bring in a redshirt freshman back who proceeds to bust an 80 yard touchdown run. Vereen proved to be just as much of a sprinter as Jahvid was, and took over fantastically after Jahvid's lights went out against Oregon State.
boomtho: Like Leland, I have to go with the 2009 Big Game. 42 (!!!!) rushes in an upset win over your rivals - it really doesn't get better than that. I also always admired Shane's quiet tenacity and brilliance. He wasn't a loud, brash, outspoken guy - he just showed up at Cal, worked his ass off, waited his turn behind a bunch of talented RB's, and then grabbed the spotlight once he got a shot. Last, per Wikipedia, he actually graduated in 3.5 years with a degree!
TwistNHook: Everybody is talking about the 2009 Big Game and for good reason. But one week prior included a Vereen play that I remember quite well. Cal was playing #16th ranked Arizona with current NFL starter Nick Foles at QB. Cal ended up winning in a big upset, which was great. This game is an interesting one. Cal was up 18-16, but Arizona was driving deep into Cal territory for a potential 19-18 victory. Nervous Cal fans were cheering on the defense at Foles moved the Wildcats down the field.
With a 3rd and 3 at the Cal 25, Arizona seemed poised to hit that FG. Even if they didn't get the first, they were in a good position. Then, this happened:
Nick Foles pass complete to Nick Foles for a loss of 9 yards to the Cal 39, ARIZONA penalty 5 yard Illegal Forward Pass accepted.
Nick Foles threw a pass, which was knocked into the air. He caught it and then tried to throw it again, which was an illegal penalty. It says only 5 yards, but it was actually 15 yards. A 3rd and 3 in great position goes to 4th and 17 at the near 40 yard line. They fail to convert and Cal takes over. Vereen proceeds to do this:
1st and 10 at CAL 39 Shane Vereen rush for 61 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 16 24
An explosive run to put the game away 25-16! Except that Tavecchio missed the XP and all of a sudden, Arizona had a last hope. But that was out of Vereen's hands. What he did was put the nail in the coffin to make sure Arizona had no chance.