All it took for running back Brendan Bigelow to want to play in a game again was to watch his Cal teammates play in one.
Bigelow, the Bears' heralded freshman out of Fresno, was resigned to redshirting the season after a disappointing training camp in which he discovered it takes a little longer than he thought to recover from multiple knee injuries. But after standing on the sideline at Candlestick Park and watching the Bears play Fresno State in their season opener, Bigelow decided it was time to get on the field.
Now, after a strong week of practice in which he discarded the tentativeness that plagued him during camp, Bigelow is in position to see some playing time Saturday when the Bears host Presbyterian College at AT&T Park.
"I was giving up a little bit, but I shot back up," Bigelow said. "After the Fresno State game, I realized I really wanted to play. I love the game of football. I started running real hard. I just really started working."
Bigelow was considered one of the country's top running back prospects despite not playing his senior season at Central East High after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second time in less than a year. He originally injured it during his junior season playoffs.
But not playing for almost two years took its toll on Bigelow, who was hesitant to really cut it loose during training camp and was also adjusting to wearing a bulky brace on his knee.
Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson remain Cal's top two running backs, but Bigelow could start pushing Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.
"Physically, it looks like he's made the turn as far as being able to run full speed and cut," said Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who added he's planning to get Bigelow some playing time Saturday. "He feels comfortable doing it."
Stewart was brought down by Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks, but the whistle didn't blow until an instant after Guyton made contact with Stewart.
"The one on Guyton was a terrible call," Tedford said. "The guy was never down. They blew the whistle right when he hit him. They blew that one."
The play would have resulted in a fourth down, and Colorado almost certainly would have punted. Instead, the Buffaloes kept the ball and scored a touchdown on the possession to cut Cal's lead to 23-20 near the end of the third quarter.