The first game in Redwood Bowl was played on Sunday, Oct. 8, 1946, with the Stanford University JV defeating Humboldt State, 20-0. Two weeks later, when Stanford's varsity played its first game of the season against UCLA, eight of the "JV" starters against the Lumberjacks were varsity starters. Stanford had been secured for the dedication game in Redwood Bowl to ensure a large crowd.
Complaints from merchants whose Saturday afternoon trade was being drawn away by football games encouraged administrators to begin a campaign geared toward funding lights for Redwood Bowl. In the spring of 1947, lights were purchased from a firm in Iowa for $2,000, with another $1,000 for switches and wiring. Alumnus Bunny Hadley donated the labor to wire the field, and poles were donated by a local lumber operator. Payment for the remainder of the work, including leasing a crane and operator, was through a $4,000 loan secured through Bank of America and paid off out of student fees over the next several years.