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Cal’s Aaron Cochran leaves game against USC in first quarter

SEP 17 2016: California Golden Bears offensive lineman Aaron Cochran (75) protecting California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (7) during the regular season game between the Texas Longhorns verses the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, CA. (Photo by Doug Stringer/Icon Sportswire)
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire

California Golden Bears left tackle Aaron Cochran was carted off the field during the first quarter of Thursday night’s game against the USC Trojans. The nature and severity of his injury are not yet known. He was replaced by sophomore Patrick Mekari. Cochran later returned to the sideline in a walking boot.

Cochran played in 12 games for the Bears as a sophomore in the 2015 season and was considered instrumental to the elite protection Jared Goff received. The 6-foot-8, 350-pound lineman was one of four starters California returned on the offensive line at the start of the season.

Mekari played in six games as a freshman last season as the Golden Bears utilized him as a versatile stop-gap at multiple positions along the offensive line. He takes reps in practice at all five offensive line positions, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Late in the first quarter, California trails the Trojans 14-0. California hasn’t been able to get their offense going early on with only 55 yards to 193 USC yards with three minutes to play in the first quarter. Missing a starter on the offensive line will likely not help a team that has only gained 23 yards on the ground.

USC, meanwhile, has hit the ground running against the Bears defense. Sophomore Ronald Jones is averaging 19.2 yards per carry thanks to a 61-yard run. He has five rushes for 96 yards in the first quarter.

Later in the first quarter, California freshman cornerback Josh Drayden went to the locker room with a shoulder injury. He has 20 tackles on the season.

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