The Wildcats will start Gunner Cruz against Colorado, looking to get their first win of the season


Marison Bilagody

Arizona quarterback, Gunner Cruz (9), reads the defense as he looks to pass the ball in the game against the University of California Los Angeles at Arizona Stadium on Oct. 9. Gunner took over for Jordan McCloud (4) after McCloud had to exit the game with an injury.

Ryan Wohl

McCloud’s season is over

The Arizona football starting quarterback Jordan McCloud injured his knee/ankle against UCLA in this past Saturday’s game in the third quarter. After their loss to NAU, McCloud was named the starting QB by head coach Jedd Fisch starting Arizona’s week four game versus Oregon.

McCloud transferred to Arizona in January 2020 after starting seven games for USF Bulls during the 2020 season. Unlike Gunner Cruz and Will Plummer, McCloud didn’t compete in spring practices due to transfer rules.

He appeared in the Wildcats’ loss to NAU for a quarter, completing 6-of-7 passes for 66 yards and one touchdown. After a heartbreaking loss to an FCS team, McCloud gained some momentum going into their game in Eugene, Oregon. He started off the game looking in control of the offense and moving the ball down the field with ease, but turnovers became an issue quickly.

McCloud finished that game against the Ducks with 233 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions. It was a very weird performance because he provided a much-needed energy boost to the offense but while turning the ball over that many times will make it much harder to win football games.

Arizona struggled to score touchdowns when in the red zone against UCLA, making two field goals in their first two drives. McCloud completed 21-of-30 passes for a total of 182 yards while also adding 21 yards on the ground.

Fisch announced at his weekly Monday press conference that McCloud will be out for the remainder of the season due to right knee and ankle injuries. Fisch also added that they are still assessing the recovery plan, but surgery is likely to happen.

Another week, another starting QB

It is a shame because McCloud seemed to have the offense flowing and playing at the highest level of the season but for the Wildcats they move on to Colorado trying to win their first game of the season.

Fisch announced after the game that Cruz will indeed be the team’s starting quarterback for their next game this Saturday in Boulder to play the Buffaloes.

“[Cruz] certainly is back to embracing being the starting quarterback,” Fisch said. “He’s really reestablished his personality. His confidence in terms of in the huddle is very critical.”

Cruz will be starting his third game of the season this Saturday against Colorado. The last game he started was in the second game of the season against San Diego State, where he completed 10-of-19 passes for 70 yards, one touchdown and one interception before being benched for Plummer.

He entered the game versus UCLA after McCloud was injured and only totaled 48 yards throughout the fourth quarter and couldn’t get anything going.

RELATED: Key stats from Arizona football’s loss against UCLA 

Will The Wildcats win their first game?

Colorado is coming off of their bye week against Arizona, but haven’t looked their best this season too. The Buffaloes are 1-4 this season, only beating Northern Colorado and losing their last three games by at least 21-points.

Arizona has beaten them in three of their last five contests but is on a one-game losing streak after losing to Colorado 24-13 last year in Tucson. The Wildcats have also won the last three games that were played in Boulder.

Colorado opened the game as seven-point favorites but are currently six points two days before kickoff. Both teams are not good at covering the betting spread. Each team has only covered the line one out of their five games played.

Colorado’s starting running back, Jarek Broussard, rushed for over 300 yards the last time the two teams faced off and is due this season because he hasn’t totaled 100 yards in a game.

“So we have to be ready for the fact that they’re going to use their running game to their advantage” Fisch said.

Senior defensive linemen JB Brown appeared in the Wildcats’ first four games of the season but has been away from the team since the bye week according to Fisch.

“[Brown] is not going to be with us for the game,” Fisch said. “It will enable him to most likely have another year of eligibility, to be able to help us as he’s working through some other things.

The game will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 network at 12:30 p.m. PST on Saturday, Oct.16.

The Arizona Wildcats will look to break their 17-game losing streak against the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder and the first victory of the Jedd Fisch era on Saturday.

Follow Ryan Wohl on Twitter