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Big Game Week: Injury & Practice Updates

Cal is a huge [30-plus] point underdog on Saturday. But who's counting, it's the Big Game - right? The Furds were upset - literally AND literally - last week in Trojan land. And well, stranger things have happened in past Big Games, including...

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The hungry Golden Bears are going into the Big Game as record underdogs, with a "nothing to lose" mentality:

Cal (1-10, 0-8 Pac-12), without a win this season against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, is a 31 1/2-point underdog — believed to be the biggest point spread in the 116-year history of the rivalry.

"We can go into the game with a nothing-to-lose mentality," coach Sonny Dykes said. "You can coach your players all week to not be afraid to make mistakes. You can play free. ... I think these guys will be more relaxed."

The team has been using the underdog label as motivation all week:

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Meanwhile, in Palo Alto, the Furds are still upset from last Saturday's loss to USC; they are relatively healthy except for two starters:

"Particularly coming off a loss, our guys can't wait to get back on the field," [Stanfurd Coach David Shaw] said. "There's going to be energy, and there's going to be fire because it's the Big Game..."

"We've shown that we have weaknesses... Don't think for one second that we won't give this game everything we have."

"When we lose, he (Stanfurd QB Kevin Hogan) takes it hard, but then he comes back and has a great practice."

While Cal has had a boatload of injuries to key players this year, Stanford has had very few, most notably defensive end Ben Gardner's torn pectoral.

Starting cornerback Alex Carter will miss Saturday's game because of a concussion he sustained in the USC loss. He will be replaced by Devon Carrington.

In contrast to Stanfurd's senior-laden roster, Cal will bring a much less experienced lineup on Saturday:

Cal has a current offensive and defensive depth chart that features a combined total of 16 freshmen (9) and sophomores (7) listed as starters. Only 2 seniors are in that role.

Injuries have been a lingering issue all season, but Coach Dykes mentioned after Wednesday's practice that the team is finally getting healthier. Daniel Lasco and Darren Ervin should be available to play, but Chris Harper and Khairi Fortt will be limited on Saturday. Lasco, Ervin, and Fortt are the three players on this week's official injury report:

It wouldn't be Big Game week without in-practice traditions, including this creative one featuring the scout team:

On the recruiting front, Cal lost a commit earlier this week, but gained one yesterday:

And lastly, congrats to CGB alum and all-time bench press record holder ManBearCal:

Additional Links:

  • Scouting Stanford 2013 - Rest of the Pac Breakdown
  • Idrissa Diallo commits to Cal men's basketball, signs LOI
  • Zach Kline doesn't use word "transfer", but ponders "opportunity"
  • Four-Star Wide Receiver Erik Brown Commits to Cal
  • Cal football: Reasons to hope