David Shaw was a member of the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff in the fall of 2005 when Stanford lost to UC Davis. He remembers feeling "a pit in my stomach as an alum."
Todd Husak, who was on the Stanford Stadium sideline, has a much different memory.
"I remember panic,'' said Husak, the former Cardinal quarterback who was working as an offensive assistant that season. "It started with the head coach (Walt Harris), and it spread.''
Stanford, which had opened the season with a victory at Navy, led 17-0 late in the second quarter. But the Aggies, who were making the transition from Division II to Division I-AA, rallied with 20 consecutive points and scored the winning touchdown with eight seconds left.
Stanford's subsequent rise to powerhouse status makes the events of Sept. 17, 2005 seem unfathomable this week as it prepares to face UC Davis for the first time since that fateful night.
"A team that believes in itself puts the foot on the gas and wins that game by 30,'' said Husak, now the Stanford radio analyst. "That team didn't know how to win.''
Matt Doyle was in a unique position to watch the shocking turn of events. The UC Davis alum was, and remains, a member of the Stanford football staff.
"Even though it unfolded before my eyes, it's still shocking,'' said Doyle, the Cardinal's director of football operations, whose allegiance that night was entirely with Stanford.
"I wanted us to beat them badly, no doubt, but it was still my alma mater. I just wanted the outcome to be respectable. That didn't happen, obviously."
Stanford appeared to seal the game in the final seconds when cornerback Nick Sanchez intercepted a sideline pass near the goal line. But Sanchez was ruled out of bounds, and the Aggies scored the game-winner on the ensuing play.
The call likely would have been overturned in the booth, except instant replay wasn't available. Because Stanford was playing a I-AA opponent, the Pac-10 didn't supply the stadium with a replay staff or the necessary equipment.
"You think about how the fortunes of a program changed because there wasn't any replay,'' Doyle said.
He agrees with Husak's view that the Cardinal, which was fresh off three failed seasons under Buddy Teevens, lacked the confidence to put teams away.
"The difference between that team and the Jim Harbaugh teams was confidence,'' Doyle said. "But we're way beyond that at this point. The difference in personnel isn't even close.''
"I have a tough time talking about 2010 with some of these guys,'' Shaw said. "But 2005 -- none of them were even in high school. They have to remember where they were in 2005."
For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports.
UC Davis at Stanford,
1 p.m. Pac-12 Networks