BERKELEY, Calif. — It took California tight end Richard Rodgers a while to hear of "The Play," though he was raised by one of its masterminds.
Growing up in Massachusetts, he saw television replays of the five increasingly improbable laterals that led to the winning touchdown on the last-second kickoff return into a band-blocked end zone, with Cal's Kevin Moen flattening a Stanford trombone player to punctuate one of the most iconic moments in college football history.
Not until about fifth grade did Rodgers recognize a particular player involved.
"Seeing it on TV all those times and then actually realizing that it was my dad, that's basically when I knew," said Rodgers, whose father, Richard Rodgers Sr., tossed two of the laterals that stunned Stanford 25-20 in 1982. "Now we laugh about it and joke with my dad about it. It's pretty cool."
Thirty years later, today's 115th "Big Game" is at Berkeley's remodeled Memorial Stadium. Stanford (4-2, 2-1) is trying to stay in contention in the Pac-12 North and Cal (3-4, 2-2) seeks a turnaround.
The Play? It's just another scintillating subplot.
"I remember when I first started getting recruited by Cal, I was like, 'Oh, this is where The Play happened,' " said Golden Bears center Brian Schwenke, who grew up in Hawaii and California and also was recruited by Stanford. "I knew The Play, really, before I knew Cal."
In the earliest clash since the inaugural in 1892 — moved off of its usual season-ending position because of the expanded Pac-12's squeezed schedule — a October surprise seems unlikely. But this game has produced some unexpected moments.
"All the tradition and all the history and all that is really important," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "…Every year, there's always a history lesson that goes into the Big Game."
SYRACUSE 40, CONNECTICUT 10: Alec Lemon had eight catches for 166 yards, including an 11-yard score, as the host Orange (3-4, 2-1 Big East) spoiled Huskies coach Paul Pasqualoni's return nearly eight years after Syracuse fired him. UConn (3-5, 0-3) had minus-6 yards rushing on 18 attempts.
BASKETBALL: A Miami-Dade judge gave Minnesota forward Trevor Mbakwe two more years of probation for a drunken-driving arrest. Mbakwe was on probation for a 2009 felony battery charge in Florida at the time of his July 1 arrest in Minnesota and could have faced jail time for the violation.