Cal Football: Bears Lose to USC 41-17; Garbers Hurt Again, Tattersall Taken Off on Cart

Devon Modster (6) replaced Chase Garbers when Garbers got hurtPhoto by Neville E. Guard - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis carved up Cal's defense in the Trojans'  41-17 victory in Berkeley Saturday night in a game that featured injuries to several Bears players.

Cal quarterback Chase Garbers, who was making his first start since Sept. 27, left the game with an unspecified injury in the second quarter, and a few minutes later Cal linebacker Evan Tattersall had to be taken off the field on a cart with what appeared to be a serious injury.

Cal later reported that Tattersall was alert and had movement in his extremities, but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Garbers stayed in uniform but did not return to the game after leaving in the second quarter. He was replaced by Devon Modster. The Bears scored the first touchdown of the game and trailed 10-7 when Garbers left the game.

Cal safety Ashtyn Davis was escorted to the locker room during the second quarter with an apparent injury. He did not participate in any defensive plays the rest of the game, but did call for fair catches on kickoff returns.

Cal running back Christopher Brown Jr. carried the ball twice for 29 yards on the Bears' first possession of the game, but did not carry the ball again the rest of the game. It's unclear whether he was injured.

Slovis was 29-for-35 for 406 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions for USC (7-4, 6-2 Pac-12). He did not play the final nine minutes of the game. 

Trojans wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. had 11 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown, and teammate Drake London had six receptions for 111 yards and a score.

Garbers finished 4-for-10 for 33 yards for Cal (5-5, 2-5), and Devon Modster was 11-for-22 for 95 yards and two interceptions. 

The one bright spot for Cal was running back DeShawn Collins, who rushed 15 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Linebacker Evan Weaver had 14 tackles.

USC amassed 449 total yards, and Cal had 263 while losing for the fifth time in its last six games.

USC increased its 17-10 halftime lead to 24-10 on its opening possession of the third quarter. A 50-yard completions to Amon-Ra St. Brown gave the Trojans a first down at the 4-yard line on that drive, and Slovis later threw an 8-yard TD pass to Drake London to give USC the two-touchdown lead.

The Trojans made it 27-10 on Chase McGrath's 32-yard field goal midway through the third period. That was set up by a 45-yard completion to Michael Pittman Jr.

USC made the margin insurmountable when Stephen Carr's 2-yard touchdown run made it 34-10 with 2:29 left in the third quarter.

The Trojans increased the lead to 41-10 before Cal scored again.

In the first half, Cal drove 75 yards for a touchdown on the first possession of the game. A pass interference penalty and a personal-foul targeting penalty that led to the ejection of USC defensive end Christian Rector aided the drive, which ended with DeShawn Collins’ 5-yard touchdown run. That gave Cal a 7-0 lead with 12:05 left in the opening quarter.

USC tied the score 7-7 on its first possession, marching 75 yards for a touchdown. The drive ended with Slovis’ 18-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Amon-Ra St. Brown with 8:11 remaining in the first quarter.

USC took a 10-7 lead with seven seconds left in the first quarter on Chase McGrath’s 41-yard field goal. A 45-yard pass completion from Slovis to Drake London on a third-and-18 play was the key play of the drive.

Garbers left the game with 12:45 left in the second quarter with an unspecified injury and was replaced by Devon Modster. The Bears ended that possession with a 37-yard field goal by Greg Thomas to tie the game 10-10.

USC took a 17-10 lead just before halftime when Slovis threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman Jr. with 43 seconds left in the second quarter.

INJURIES:  Cal QB Chase Garbers left the game in the second quarter with an unspecified injury. Cal linebacker Evan Tattersall left the field on a cart after being immobilized on a stretcher following a hit in the second quarter. Cal safety Ashtyn Davis was escorted to the locker room during the second quarter with an apparent injury.

Cal running back Christopher Brown Jr. did not play after the Bears' first possession, apparently because of injury, although that was not confirmed.

PREGAME INJURY REPORT: Cal wide receiver Kekoa Crawford and wide receiver Jeremiah Hawkins did not play Saturday, but wide receiver Nikko Remigio returned to action against USC.

USC 41, CAL 17

RECORDS: Cal (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12), USC (7-4, 6-2)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: USC quarterback Kedon Slovis. Slovis, a freshman who was the Pac-12 offensive player of the week this past week, completed 29-of-35 passes for 406 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

TURNING POINT: Cal trailed 10-7 with 12:45 left in the second quarter when Cal quarterback Chase Garbers had to leave the game after taking a hit following a 5-yard run. The Bears had the ball at the USC 45-yard line at the time and managed a field goal out of the possession to tie the score 10-10, but Cal could not generate much offense after that as the Trojans scored the next 31 points.

STAT OF THE GAME: USC quarterback Kedon Slovis had a passer rating of 218 for the game.

UGLY STAT OF THE GAME I: In the first half, USC gained 143 yards on third-down plays; Cal had 111 yards of total offense in the first half.

UGLY STAT OF THE GAME II: Through three quarters, USC had 347 passing yards; Cal had 87.

WHAT IT MEANS: Cal has lost five of its past six games with a road games against Stanford and UCLA remaining. The Bears are assured of finishing with a losing conference record, and their chance of having a second straight winning season is in jeopardy. It's unclear whether Chase Garbers will play next week against Stanford, but he remained in unform and on the sidelines in the second half Saturday. This has to be a disappointment for a team that started 4-0 and was ranked 15th in the country.

CAL’S BOWL BAROMETER: Cal's bowl chances decreased to about 45 percent. The Bears need one more win in their final two games to become bowl-eligible, and that probably will be enough to land a bowl berth. But the Bears would feel a lot more comfortable about their postseason prospects if they won both games.

NEXT GAME: Cal at Stanford, Saturday, November 23. Kickoff: 1 p.m. TV: FS1. Stanford (4-6, 3-5 Pac-12) lost to Washington State 49-22 on Saturday.

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