Cal Football: QB Chase Garbers, RB Christopher Brown Jr. Questionable for Big Game

Jake Curtis

Cal will try to end its nine-game Big Game losing streak on Saturday at Stanford, but the Bears might have to do it without their starting quarterback or starting tailback in the 122nd Big Game.

Quarterback Chase Garbers and running back Christopher Brown Jr. were both injured during Saturday’s 41-17 loss to USC. Neither practiced on Monday because of unspecified injuries, and both are questionable for Saturday’s game.

Safety Ashtyn Davis and wide receiver Kekoa Crawford are also questionable for Saturday’s game with medical concerns, and linebacker Evan Tattersall suffered a scary injury Saturday, although he seems to be recovering well. So Cal (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) is likely to be shorthanded on Saturday.

Most of the attention this week is on Garbers, who returned to action against USC after missing four games as the result of a shoulder injury suffered in the Sept. 27 loss to Arizona State.

“Chase was not able to practice today, and so that’ll be day-to-day,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said Monday in the video above. “It’s going to be up to the doctors if and when they clear him to participate.”

Wilcox has waited until the day before the game to name his starting quarterback the past two weeks, but an announcement could come at any time this week.

Wilcox could name a starter by midweek if Garbers is cleared, but if he is not cleared until late in the week, the Bears would seriously consider going with Devon Modster.

“It depends on when that [clearance] happens and what Chase is able to do,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox noted that the injury that sidelined Garbers in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss to USC is unrelated to the Sept. 27 shoulder injury.

Garbers was the starter when Cal began the season 4-0 and was ranked 15th. He was injured in the fifth game. Cal trailed 10-7 when he was injured in the second quarter against USC.

Brown has had injury problems for much of the season. He had two carries on Cal’s first possession of Saturday’s game, but that was it for him as further health issues ended his contributions for the day.

If Brown is sidelined, the Bears would go with Marcel Dancy and DeShawn Collins and possibly Alex Netherda at tailback. Collins, who played little in the first half of the season because of nagging injuries, had a breakout game against USC and was the lone bright spot for the Bears. He ran for 103 yards in the game, becoming just the second Cal player to rush for more than 100 yards in a game this season and the first to do it against an FBS opponent.

When asked why Collins, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, did not emerge until now, Wilcox simply said, “Health.”

The most serious injury on Saturday was sustained by Tattersall, who had to be loaded onto a stretcher, taken off the field on a cart and transported to a hospital. All indications are that he is recovering well.

“Evan was released from the hospital Saturday night,” Wilcox said Monday. “He’s been at home. We’ve talked to him. He’s doing much better. It’s been all positive since then. Obviously a scary moment for everybody. He’ll be back [Tuesday] and he’ll start the protocol from there.”

Stanford (4-6, 3-5) has had its share of injuries too, and, like Cal, the Cardinal has an uncertain quarterback situation. It’s not known whether Davis Mills or K.J. Costello will be the starting quarterback for the Cardinal.