The 113th edition of the Big Game isn't so much a showdown with its bitter rival but a form of therapy for Cal. The Bears, coming off one of their most excruciating losses in recent memory, need something to divert their attention to the future. Nothing like the prospect of retaining The Axe to help Cal move on from Saturday's 15-13 loss to No. 1 Oregon. "It's the Big Game. There's definitely a lot of excitement, a lot of energy," Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "I don't think guys are going to have too much of a problem putting this one behind us."
The Bears defense played the game of a lifetime in shutting down the Ducks' potent attack, but Cal's offense went down with a whimper. Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio also missed a 29-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter that would have given the Bears the lead. To come so close to dethroning the nation's top team and still walk away losers was devastating for the Bears.
"Saturday night to Sunday, you kind of feel like you got robbed a little bit," Cal center Chris Guarnero said. "I felt like we had opportunities and we should have won. Give credit to Oregon. They won a close game on the road." It's not only the excitement of playing Stanford that can help the Bears move forward. The Oregon game demonstrated that Cal can be competitive with the top teams in the country, at least on defense.