Cal Football: LB Ben Hawk Schrider -- Lifelong Cal Fan Recalls His Many Big Games

Jake Curtis

Cal linebacker Ben Hawk Schrider recalls rushing onto the field as a 7 year old when Cal won the 2004 Big Game in Berkeley. That 41-7 Cal victory sticks out for Schrider, who attended virtually every Big Game in Berkeley and a few at Stanford from the age of 4 until he went off to college.

Schrider is a resident of Berkeley who attended Saint Mary's College High School in Berkeley. And even though Schrider spent the previous four years at schools in the East and the South (Richmond and Chattanooga) before becoming a graduate transfer at Cal this year, his passion for Cal and the Big Game never waned.

"I don't like red; that's the biggest thing for me. I don't wear red," Schrider said this week in advance of his first and last Big Game as a participant. "Basically, Cal and that school with the tree -- that rivalry, it means a lot."

One of the main reasons he transferred to Cal despite not receiving a scholarship was his love of the school. (He has since been awarded a scholarship.)

If you listen to Schrider talk about the Big Game in the video above, you feel his devotion to Cal.

Although Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said he was barely aware of Cal's nine-game losing streak in the Big Game, Schrider is acutely aware of it.

"That means everything," Schrider said of winning the Big Game, "and not having it for a while to me is a huge goal." 

While still at Chattanooga last year, Schrider had to make special arrangements with teammates, who came to Schrider's apartment but wanted to watch the Georgia-Alabama SEC title game that was on at the same time as the 2018 Big Game.

"We had to bring out two TVs and plug them in," Schrider said, "because one, I was watching Cal-Stanford, and I was wired to that, and they wanted to watch Georgia and Alabama while I was watching the more important game."

Schrider might have an impact on whether Cal ends the nine-game Big Game losing streak because he has played a lot this season, recording two tackles for loss, including a sack. He has become an important pass rusher from his outside linebacker spot, and rushing the passer will be instrumental in the Bears' game plan Saturday.