I can still see the moment in my mind where it all ended. It’s crystal clear. The risky throw over the middle, the white jersey grabbing it out of the air. The sudden silence of the crowd. My head in my hands.
This past Saturday was the Big Game — Stanford vs Cal. It’s the one game of the year that the entire Stanford campus actually gears up for — ready for blood. And I mean it. A conversation from earlier that week:
nimur2008: the band just ritually killed the cal bear
nimur2008: so much gore
nimur2008: so much blood
Saket Vora: YES>
Saket Vora: is it on youtube?
nimur2008: not yet
nimur2008: give it a few minutes
nimur2008: it literally just happened minutes ago
Saket Vora: where
nimur2008: white plaza
Saket Vora: is the fountain red?
nimur2008: not yet
nimur2008: when the bear’s blood reaches it
nimur2008: it will be
nimur2008: he’s still gushing
Saket Vora: ….
Saket Vora: what do you mean
nimur2008: they took a bear
nimur2008: slammed it onto the claw
nimur2008: blood spurt
nimur2008: blood everywhere
nimur2008: tree and dollies dancing all over
nimur2008: it was anarchy
Saket Vora: so they got like a stuffed teddy bear and sewed a blood bag into t?
nimur2008: no a real bear
nimur2008: real blood
Saket Vora: hah right
nimur2008: I WAS THERE
Nader is referring of course, to when the Band impales a teddy bear onto the claw fountain in White Plaza, turning it into this:
There will be blood.
This was a resurrection year for Stanford football. We just defeated the #1 and #2 teams in the Pac-10 (and #8 and #9 nationally), including a record breaking demolition of USC away in LA. The 55 points we put on USC is the most they have ever allowed at home, and was their worst loss since 1966. Stanford went from having zero Top 25 votes to 14th in just two weeks. For the first time in nearly 8 years, we were the favored team going into the Big Game.
I got on campus early for some tailgating with friends from Apple. What a gorgeous day for football — perfect fall weather.
AT&T’s data plan promptly failed once. And everyone had iPhones at our tailgate, except Nader. Who refused to check scores for us.
Got into the stadium half an hour early and was surprised to see the Red Zone already full with students. Our group was up on the 2nd level, but none of us sat in our ticketed seats; we moved around as the real ticket holders arrived. But whatever. Everyone does it.
The Red Zone student section.
The Cal Band took the field first and was boring, but the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band took the field and all was right again. The entire drum section was decked out in full body stormtrooper attire. Awesome.
The game got underway and on the 2nd play from scrimmage, Heisman-worthy and the nation’s best running back Toby Gerhart broke free for a TD. It was soon 14-0 by Toby Gerhart again.
Then the breakdowns started coming. Our defense because extremely porous, with the Cal running backs picking up first downs from the line of scrimmage per carry. Cal quickly took the lead soon after halftime, and we were down by 10. Oh yeah, Tiger Woods was on hand to be inducted into the Stanford Hall of Fame, and was an honorary captain for the football team. Even the Cal fans were booing him. Come on!
The last 8 minutes of the game was pure agony. We got within a touchdown. Our play calling became totally passwhacky. On the next possession, we tried three passes (two of them long 40+ yard bombs) that all dropped incomplete. Then proceeded to go for it on 4th and 8 on our own 20-something yard line. Another incomplete pass. Cal got the ball, but our defense miraculously held. We would get the ball back with just under two minutes to play. Again, passwhacky. Toby Gerhart then gets a dump off from the QB and runs 40 yards up the sideline, through traffic, to the Cal 13. Whoa. 1:30 left in the, 1st and 10 on the Cal 13, down by a touchdown. First play, a pass in the flat outside, incomplete. And then it happens.
The pass over the middle. In heavy traffic. The interception. And Cal just knees the ball until 0:00, when the Cal fans rushed our field.
Sigh. Shellshocked. Speechless. The burning question: why on earth, when you have the best running back in the country on your team — who has already rushed for 136 yards and 4 touchdowns — do you not give him a chance to punch it in? In the Big Game? Game on the line? In his senior year?
I absolutely love what Coach Harbaugh has done for Stanford — he’s a terrific coach and I’m fully behind him. But boy do I wish we had some different playcalls on that last game.
Chrissy and Dave were kind enough to get me back home, but I headed back out with Troy to downtown PA for some dinner with Mike, Karla, Lauren (who went to USC), and Gregg (Mike’s friend from HS). After dinner Lauren invited us to her house to try some WAFFLE COOKIES. I write them in all caps because they are deserving of it.
This was shared on Google Reader just days ago by Kelly, and now I got to try them! Absolutely delicious. At least it was a good night.