Cal safety Sean Cattouse will sacrifice stats for one of the biggest plays in Big Game history.
Cattouse insists he would have broken up the pass delivered by Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck had it not been intercepted by linebacker Mike Mohamed near the end of last season's Big Game. The pick sealed the Bears' 34-28 victory.
With Stanford driving for a potential game-winning touchdown, Luck threw a pass from Cal's 13-yard line that was intended for tight end Coby Fleener. Mohamed reached up and hauled it down with 1:36 remaining, and the Bears ran out the clock.
Cattouse was covering Fleener on the play.
"I swear up and down if he wouldn't have got it, I would have knocked it down," Cattouse said. "I was on him. I know I would have lunged. If he hadn't caught it, I'm pretty sure I would have got a PBU (pass break-up) on that thing."
The ball never got that far, thanks to Mohamed. His interception set off a wild celebration by Cal and its fans at Stanford Stadium, and Mohamed immediately got penciled in near the top of memorable Big Game plays.
"It was crazy. I'm glad that it happened," Mohamed said. "There were times afterward somebody would notice me just going down the street, and they would say something. I got a lot of praise for it. But that was last year. Hopefully, it doesn't come down to the wire like that again."
The interception capped off an subpar performance from Luck that was uncharacteristic. Luck dazzled last year as a redshirt freshman and has been even better this season, leaving him as a possible No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft if he chooses to make himself available.
"I tried not to think about it too much, to put it out of my memory," Luck said of Mohamed's interception. "But it will creep back into my mind every now and then. When I pop in the film, I'll watch the play and relive it again"
Cal is just trying to get bowl-eligible, and must win one of its final two games to do so.
"It's been really tough," Mohamed said. "We've gone from always knowing we're going to a bowl game to maybe not going. That's tough. We're just focusing on finishing strong. As a senior, it's going to take some leadership."
Said Cattouse, a redshirt junior: "It's been a test of our character as a team. We've been at the top. It's a test to keep playing. We're not going to the national title game or the Rose Bowl. You're playing for each other, the school, the fans and everybody that represents us."
"I'd say probably the first one when the fans came down and took the goalposts down," Tedford said. "That was pretty exciting."