STANFORD — The Cardinal's quarterback situation heading into this week's Big Game against Cal is a mystery.

Because coach Jim Harbaugh left Saturday without speaking with reporters after the Cardinal's 21-14 loss to Notre Dame, it is not known whether Tavita Pritchard or T.C. Ostrander will be behind center against the Bears.

Pritchard was drilled in the head late in the third quarter, forcing him to the sideline. He returned briefly after Ostrander injured his hand, but he finished the game on the bench.

"I saw T.C. out, so I ran to the doctor and asked if I could go back in?" Pritchard said, "because they took my helmet. He was asking me if I was OK? And I said, 'Yeah, I'm OK.' I just ran in."

In the locker room after the game, Pritchard's eyes looked glazed, and he said he "had a little bit of a headache right now. But I'm all right."

Pritchard said he would be available to play Saturday.

Ostrander, who started last year's Big Game, said he would be ready as well. The senior noted that he lost feeling in three fingers after getting hit on the funny bone.

"I just couldn't feel the ball," Ostrander said. "I tried to keep going. But I figured I wouldn't be able to throw very well without those three fingers. So I came out for a little bit. It feels fine now."

BELCH HAS HIP INJURY: Harbaugh said last week that Derek Belch's kicking troubles were mechanical.


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But is it more than that?

Saturday, the kicker acknowledged that he has an injured hip flexor. Belch badly missed all four of his field-goal tries Saturday, including a 30-yarder in the fourth quarter that would have given the Cardinal the lead, and eight of 10 dating to the Oregon State game Oct.27.

"My hip flexor has been messed up for a while," Belch said. "It hurts during the week, and then I come out here and it feels decent.

"I'd like to say that's a problem, but I don't think that it is. I'm just dumbfounded, to be honest."

Belch later noted the injury might be causing him to push the ball to the right. The 30-yarder sailed in that direction.

The Cardinal didn't have another option Saturday because Belch's backup, Aaron Zagory, has an undisclosed injury.

EXTRA POINTS: Stanford's 81 penalty yards were a season high. ... The Cardinal defense had a season-best 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including five sacks. ... Notre Dame extended its winning streak against Stanford to six games.