Minutes after the rain stopped, the trickling began, a few dozen folks at a time.
They were followed by a few hundred more. By the third quarter, thousands were rising from their seats and leaving Memorial Stadium, having glimpsed more than enough of the last scene they ever wanted to see.
Their Cal football team being bruised, blistered, battered and sent to its locker room.
By none other than Stanford, the most hated of rivals.
The Golden Bears on Saturday were punished up one side of the field and down the other, then back again, absorbing a 48-14 Big Game beating so comprehensive it cannot and should not be forgotten.
There is no doubt this cool, damp defeat will sit like tacks in the bellies of Cal's most passionate alumni. And that those who began filing out in the second quarter, with the Bears down 31-0, will ensure this humiliation burns the ears of coach Jeff Tedford.
Tedford's ninth season with the Bears is crawling to a close with the once-celebrated coach at his lowest point in Berkeley, his team on Saturday projecting far too much of what he has tried to prevent and, moreover, of what its fans don't want it to be.
The Bears (5-6, 3-5 in the Pac-10) were instigators during a pregame demonstration during which players strutted onto the field, posturing and gesturing and taunting the seventh-ranked Cardinal (10-1, 7-1), forcing officials to intervene and, eventually, flag Cal for unsportsmanlike conduct before the opening kickoff.
"They were fired up to play; I don't think they were out of control," Tedford said.
"It kind of escalated a little bit," safety Sean Cattouse conceded. "But we wanted to show them we were ready to play this game."
If only it appeared they were. The Bears fumbled the snap on two of their first three plays and committed six penalties, costing 60 yards, in the first quarter.
They allowed nearly as many points in this game as they had all season at home, holding five previous opponents, including No. 1-ranked Oregon, to a cumulative 49.
The Bears gave up more points than ever to Stanford, which Cal has played since 1892 and which Tedford had dominated (7-1 record) in his first eight Big Games.
This one was over early and emphatically. Not for a meaningful moment did the Bears belong on the same field as the Cardinal, which scored on its first eight possessions and entered the fourth quarter with a 45-0 lead.
"Everything they gave us, they showed us," Cattouse said. "We were ready for it in practice. It's not a coaching thing; it's a player's thing. We have to execute. Everything they did, we saw during the week on film."
The Pac-10's top-ranked defenders, who have been especially stingy at home, had no answers for offensive challenges they fully anticipated.
And though many among the crowd of 67,793 recognized it early, giving up and going home, Tedford and his team had no choice but to stick around and take it until Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh pulled his key starters in the fourth quarter.
"I don't think there was a lack of effort," Tedford said. "I think they made plays and we didn't make plays . . . you have to give them credit."
Stanford not only brought better players but proved better prepared. There is a reason NFL teams are monitoring Harbaugh's work.
What this game did, too, was highlight the arcs of two programs unable to escape historical comparisons. Stanford, behind quarterback Andrew Luck and Harbaugh, is putting together a magnificent season and generating a national profile. Cal is foundering as it never has under Tedford.
The Bears were struggling when starting quarterback Kevin Riley was healthy and playing. Now that he's out, replaced by backup Brock Mansion, Cal is a lower division Pac-10 team.
And Tedford finds himself in the unwelcome and unprecedented position of sitting for Thanksgiving dinner with a losing record and needing to win the season finale against Washington to become eligible for a bowl game.
"This game means a lot," Tedford said, reflecting on the Big Game. "It means a lot to a lot of people. It's very hard to swallow. It's tough to take.
"We'll keep this on our minds (Saturday and Sunday). We have got to flush it."
Some losses fade more easily than others, though, and that brings us to Tedford's challenge for the week -- and, perhaps, a pivotal moment in his tenure.
How does he motivate a team that thought it was ready to play, thought it would win a rivalry game, only to discover such thoughts were irrelevant?
Contact Monte Poole at email@example.com.