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Cal 34, Stanford 28 - Golden Bears win a Big Game for the ages!

Cal 34, Stanford 28; Cal Golden Bears win Big Game! Remember that because a lot of Cal alums, including me, will never forget it. When a beaming Cal Chancellor Robert Birgeneau roams the Stanford field after the victory, shaking hands and posing for pictures, and says "This was one of our greatest wins", you know it was a special game.

It certainly was.

It was one for Cal's football history because it marked the first time we beat Stanford to keep them out of a big game after the turn of the century. We've beat Stanford before to harm their bowl hopes - but never The Rose Bowl.

Rather than snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Cal did the opposite. Moreover, it happened at Stanford. The win and the significance of it, made the song "You know it. You tell the story. You tell the whole damn World this is Bear territory!" mean more than just words. Stanford Stadium became "Bear territory" with Cal students, alums, faculty and staff storming the field, all singing that song again and again and again.

It was a beautiful moment in time that, but for a few key moments during the game, may not have come to pass.

Lining up and kicking a field goal to put Cal up 34 to 28 did not sit well with Cal fans; we wanted a touchdown purely out of respect for the yardage-chewing prowess of the Stanford Cardinal offense, which needed a touchdown and an extra point to take the game from Cal.

While the Cardinal didn't perform well enough to win, Quarterback Andrew Luck, Running Back Toby Gerhard, and the Stanford Offensive Line had put together a 1:46 second drive to score just moments before.

No Cal fan wanted to see a repeat of that process, yet because of the Cal field goal after wasting third down by lining up to have Cal Quaterback Kevin Riley run left to a point between the hashmarks at the 11 yard line, the stage was set for that to happen.

It almost did, with a game Andrew Luck working to prove one could put the game in his hands and win, teaming up with the fleet Gerhard to move the Cardinal to within the Cal 20 and then down to first and goal to win the game. The next play for me happened in slow motion: at the Cal 3-yard-line Luck dropped back to throw, had a good two seconds to read the defense and pick a receiver, but instead threw an interception.

Cal Linebacker Mike Mohamed's pick of Luck's pass in the end zone caused Cal fans to erupt in a massive outpouring of emotion: yelling, hugging, kissing, crying, and just smiling. It was a good win. No, it was a great win. A win I'll blog more about tonight after I'm off my plane to see family for the holidays back east. A lot of comments; a ton of video.

Afterward, at a raucous tailgate party thrown by my Cal buddies, someone turned on the song We are the Champions and we all sang, loudly and badly. For that moment - for that time last night - we were champions. Cal beat Stanford in what will go down as one of the greatest games in Big Game history.

GO BEARS!
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