Coming off the high off a victory over a top-10 opponent, Cal football has once again been bitten by the injury bug, making the mood around Memorial Stadium slightly more dour during what was a jubilant time. Senior inside linebacker Devante Downs had won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week twice this season, but will miss the remainder of 2017 with a lower body injury sustained in Cal’s 37-3 win over Washington State.
“I really feel for (Downs) because the guy has just been a warrior and played extremely hard,” said Cal head coach Justin Wilcox. “It’s never easy, and it’s something that he’ll bounce back from but it’s tough right now, and for the rest of the guys it’ll be next man up.”
Downs’ contributions to a rejuvenated Cal defensed have been enormous — he led the team in tackles (more than 20 above second-place Raymond Davidson III) and sacks, and was tied for the team lead in interceptions and forced fumbles (two a piece). Cal has thus far survived season-ending injuries to key contributors like wide receiver Demetris Robertson, running back Tre Watson, and outside linebacker Cameron Saffle, but Downs may be the hardest to replace of all.
A previous version of this article stated the score of Cal’s victory over Washington State was 37-2. In fact, the score was 37-3.