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Stanford-California Preview Capsule

Associated Press Published: October 18, 2012
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No. 22 Stanford (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) at California (3-4, 2-2), 3 p.m. (Fox)

Line: Stanford by 2 ½.

Series Record: Stanford leads 57-46-11.

WHAT'S AT STAKE:

Besides bragging rights and the coveted Stanford Axe in one of the country's oldest rivalries, Stanford is looking to keep pace with Oregon and Oregon State and stay in contention in the Pac-12 North. California, which has won two straight for the first time this season, is looking to stop a two-game losing streak to Stanford in the first Big Game at the remodeled Memorial Stadium.

KEY MATCHUP

Stanford QB Josh Nunes against the California defense. The Cardinal have yet to score an offense touchdown in two road games — both losses — this season, including last week's 20-13 defeat at Notre Dame in overtime. The redshirt junior played shaky in both losses. His receivers, who dropped four balls against the Fighting Irish, also have done little to alleviate the stress on Andrew Luck's successor.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Stanford: TE Zach Ertz. One of the nation's top tight ends, Ertz sat out last season's Big Game because of a right knee injury. He has a team-leading 25 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns this year.

California: RB Brendan Bigelow. The speedy, change-of-pace back is listed third on the depth chart but has the kind of athleticism and big-play ability that gives Stanford fits. Bigelow has 23 carries for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He also has three catches for 37 yards and one touchdown.

FACTS & FIGURES

This is the 115th meeting between the Bay Area schools. ... Since the first Big Game on March 9, 1892, the schools have never played before November. ... Only 52 points separates the teams throughout the years. Stanford has outscored Cal 1,878-1,826. ... The game will mark the 30th anniversary of "The Play," when Cal scored on a five-lateral, 57-yard kickoff return while the Stanford band ran on the field to win 25-20. ... Stanford held off a late surge to beat Cal 31-28 last season.