The atmosphere will be electric Saturday when Cal faces Nevada in the first game at Memorial Stadium in 21 months.
Here is my game preview and all the facts and figures you need about the 2012 opener.
CAL VS. NEVADA
2011 RECORDS: Cal 7-6, 4-5 in Pac-12; Nevada 7-6, 5-2 in WAC
KICKOFF: Noon, Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 22-2-1. Nevada won 52-31 at Reno in 2010, but Cal has not lost to the Wolf Pack in Berkeley since a 6-2 defeat in 1903 — when Theodore Roosevelt was president, there were just 45 states in the U.S., and the Wright brothers were still a month away from flying for the first time.
STORYLINES: The Bears are eager to properly christen their newly renovated stadium and to avenge an embarrassing 21-point loss to the Wolf Pack two years ago. In order to beat Nevada, they will need to defend the pistol offense much more effectively than when they played in 2010 and vs. UCLA in 2011 … Cal must win this game to realistically expect a 2-2 start with ferocious road games vs. Ohio State and USC looming later this month … Worth watching: Cal’s offensive line and its freshman wide receivers.
INJURY UPDATE: Cal — ILB David Wilkerson (ankle), ILB Khairi Fortt (knee), OG Dominic Galas (shoulder), CB Stefan McClure (knee), OLB Cecil Whiteside (academics) are out. Nevada — SS Ty Thompson (shoulder) is doubtful.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s defensive front seven vs. Nevada’s pistol offense and quarterback Cody Fajardo. Cal must be disciplined and creative on defense to disarm the Wolf Pack, which will use deception toset up option runs and passes out of the hybrid shotgun formation. When the teams met two years ago, Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick totaled 329 rushing and passing yards and accounted for five touchdowns.
STATS THAT MATTER: Saturday’s game is the 547th played by the Bears at Memorial Stadium, which originally opened in 1923. Cal is 317-213-16 all-time in the facility … The Bears are 61-5 under Jeff Tedford when they score at least 30 points, but one of those losses was two years ago at Nevada. … Cal has outscored Nevada 699-71 in games played at Berkeley, but only one of those 23 matchups was more recent than 1945 … Nevada features 18 starters from California, including defensive end Lenny Jones of San Leandro and linebacker Albert Rosette of Antioch.