Fresh off a massive win against No. 8 Washington State, Cal has suffered a devastating blow.
Linebacker Devante Downs is out for the season with a lower-body injury, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Rusty Simmons reported Monday, citing the school.
Head coach Justin Wilcox spoke with reporters about the injury on Monday:
— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) October 17, 2017
The loss of Downs is huge for a Cal defense that is coming off a masterful performance against Washington State, holding the Cougars to 3 points and forcing quarterback Luke Falk to throw a stunning 5 interceptions in the 37-3 upset. Downs is a tow-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week in 2017, led the Pac-12 in tackles and was tied for 10th in the nation in tackles per game (10.0) before the Friday night triumph. He was the shining star of a unit that had struggled to stop opposing offenses prior to Week 7, despite having renowned defensive mind Wilcox as head coach.
The Golden Bears turned that around against the Cougars, but will have to forge onward without Downs, who was making a strong case for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (with a stat line of 65 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 4 QB hurries and 2 interceptions) and was one of the top linebacker prospects for the upcoming NFL draft. The injury brings a premature end to what was setting up as a great final collegiate campaign. One can only hope Downs’ future isn’t negatively affected by this injury.
Listed behind Downs on the Bears’ depth chart is redshirt sophomore Gerran Brown, who has recorded statistics in six of the Bears’ seven games this season, including a season-high 7 tackles in Cal’s win against North Carolina.