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Arizona vs. Utah: Brandon Dawkins leaves game after a hit to the head

The QB was replaced by Khalil Tate in third quarter

NCAA Football: Arizona at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats starting quarterback Brandon Dawkins was removed during the third quarter of the UA’s 36-23 loss to the Utah Utes because of a hit he took to the head, head coach Rich Rodriguez announced after the game.

Dawkins, who was originally questionable for the game because of a rib injury, took several hard hits throughout the night, and was eventually replaced by freshman quarterback Khalil Tate.

Dawkins was removed at one point late in the second quarter because he re-aggravated his rib injury, but then briefly returned at the start of the third quarter.

There, he’d last just two series before being knocked out for good after a hit to the head.

“I thought he competed well,” Rodriguez said. “His ribs — at one point he got hit on them again — he took a series off to catch his breath and then got dinged on the head a little bit there in the second half and so he couldn’t go back in.

“But he’s a competitive guy and he made some plays, there are some he’d like to have back, but I like the way he competes.”

Dawkins finished 11-for-20 through the air for 243 yards, while rushing for 49 yards. He also had a pair of touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) while throwing two interceptions.

Tate put up similar numbers in relief.

The 17-year-old freshman was 5-for-8 through the air for 109 yards, while throwing for a touchdown and an interception in his second career game. He also ran 33 yards on 10 carries.

Dawkins’ playing status for Arizona’s home game against the USC Trojans next Saturday likely won’t be known until later in the week, but it does seem — given the rib injury and now a potential head injury — Tate could be in line for his first career start.