Stanford, Cal stumble into Big Game with little at stake

Stanford (3-7, 1-7 Pac-12) at California (3-7, 1-6), Saturday, 5:30 p.m. EST (Pac-12 Networks)


Series record: Stanford leads 65-49-11


The only thing at stake in this year’s Big Game is pride and the Axe. Both teams were eliminated from bowl contention with blowout losses last week making this the first Big Game when neither team had a chance at a bowl since 2000. This is the first time since 1997-98 that Cal and Stanford will both have losing records in back-to-back seasons.


Stanford’s run D vs. Cal’s running game. The Cardinal have been gashed this season in the running game, ranking 128th in the country allowing 222.2 yards per game and 130th with 5.99 yards per carry. Cal managed just 9 yards rushing last week against Oregon State, the fewest in any game for the Bears since they had minus-40 vs. Washington in 2017. The Bears have been held to fewer than 75 yards rushing in six straight games.


Stanford: QB Tanner McKee is coming off one of his worst games when he went 11 for 23 for 155 yards last week at Utah. McKee has thrown for one TD over his last five games after having 10 in the first five this season.

California: WR J.Michael Sturdivant is one of the top performing freshmen in the country. He leads all freshman in receptions (55), is tied for second in touchdown catches (six), third in yards receiving (615).


Stanford has won 10 of the last 12 games in the series but Cal won 41-11 last season. … The Bears are seeking their first home win in the series since 2008. … This is the 40th anniversary of “The Play” when Cal shocked Stanford with a kick return TD on the final play of a 25-20 win that featured several laterals and the Stanford band on the field. … Stanford has allowed at least 500 yards in three straight games and five times this season. … Cal has lost six straight conference games in a single season for the first time since going 0-9 in Pac-12 play in 2013. … The Bears fired OC Bill Musgrave and OL coach Angus McClure after being held to 10 points or less for the fourth time in the past two seasons.


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