BOULDER, Colo. — Jamarye Joiner began his Arizona career as a quarterback before moving to wide receiver. He might end up behind center for the rest of this season as the Wildcats’ primary backup, or perhaps something more.
Arizona is down to one healthy scholarship quarterback after Gunner Cruz got hurt during Saturday’s 34-0 loss at Colorado.
Cruz injured his thumb in the third quarter. UA coach Jedd Fisch said Cruz probably will miss the rest of the season.
“Not a good situation, it doesn’t sound like,” Fisch said. “I don’t think we can get Gunner back this year. It seems like that will be an injury that will require some more work. We’ll know for sure (Sunday).”
The previous week, Jordan McCloud — who had emerged as the clear-cut starter — suffered season-ending knee and ankle injuries against UCLA.
With McCloud and Cruz down, Will Plummer is the last man standing. The second-year freshman completed 7 of 17 passes for 71 yards Saturday with an interception that deflected off the hands of receiver Stanley Berryhill III.
Cruz went 13 of 22 for 82 yards with one pick. The interception resulted in a touchdown for the Buffaloes. Cruz got injured on that play. He banged his hand as he released the ball. It fluttered into the arms of Colorado’s Carson Wells, who also had four tackles for losses.
“Will’s gonna be our guy,” Fisch said. “We’re gonna ride with Will.”
Fisch doesn’t have many other options. They include two walk-ons, veteran Luke Ashworth and freshman Brayden Zermeno; and Joiner, who took two snaps at quarterback Saturday and attempted a pass on a trick play that was wiped out by a penalty.
Joiner threw a touchdown pass on a gadget play against UCLA. It’s Arizona’s only touchdown in the past two games.
“We’re gonna have to really research, dig deep into what we can do with our team in terms of the second quarterback,” Fisch said. “We have Luke Ashworth, who we travel with — who takes none of the reps and really hasn’t taken many at all. We have Jamarye, who has played some quarterback. And we have Will, who we need to try to keep healthy.
“We’re gonna do our best to get Will ready to go and figure out how we can handle the backup (situation).”
Plummer has two career starts, including one this season. Arizona hosts Washington on Friday night.
Change at ‘Mike’
Arizona played without starting middle linebacker Treshaun Hayward, who did not make the trip because of what Fisch described as “personal issues.”
Hayward, a transfer from Western Michigan, had 34 tackles in the first five games, second most on the team.
Another transfer, Jerry Roberts, took Hayward’s place. Roberts, who came to Arizona from Bowling Green, was credited with one tackle. He also handled communication and other responsibilities.
The Wildcats limited the Buffaloes to 117 yards rushing.
“I’m proud of him,” defensive tackle Kyon Barrs said. “But didn’t get the win. So we gotta come back next week, and he’s gotta step up again.”
It’s unclear whether Hayward will be back for the UW game.
Arizona had to shuffle its offensive line during the game. Already without starting right guard Josh Donovan (leg), the Wildcats lost left guard Donovan Laie for a stretch in the second half. Laie had to be helped to the locker room but later returned. Josh Baker made his second career start in place of Donovan. Matthew Stefanski Jr. subbed for Laie.
Fisch said tailback Drake Anderson “got a little dinged up” in the first quarter. Anderson had only two touches, a season low.
Cornerback Isaiah Rutherford returned to the lineup after missing last week’s game against UCLA because of strep throat.