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Arizona football: Brandon Dawkins still Wildcats’ starting quarterback, per Rich Rodriguez

Not surprising

NCAA Football: Northern Arizona at Arizona Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Despite inserting Khalil Tate in the fourth quarter of Arizona’s 19-16 loss to Houston on Saturday, Rich Rodriguez said Monday that Brandon Dawkins is still Arizona’s starting quarterback.

Brandon Dawkins is our starter. He had some tough moments Saturday as everybody did, but he also had some plays that he made pretty well,” the UA head coach said on the Doug & Wolf Show on 98.7 FM. ”There’s a lot of fundamental things we can continue to work on and he’ll be fine.”

Dawkins was 17 for 29 for 178 yards against Houston with a career-low 26 rushing yards.

The redshirt junior struggled with his accuracy, missing a few crucial throws including an overthrow of a wide open Tony Ellison in the end zone.

Rodriguez brought Tate in early in the fourth quarter, saying Dawkins was “nicked up” and that Tate “could provide a little spark,” but the results weren’t much better.

Tate threw for 41 yards and rushed for 24, and tossed a costly interception as the Wildcats neared field goal range down by three with 3:49 left in regulation.

Arizona got another chance to tie or take the lead later in the fourth and Rodriguez opted to go with Dawkins, whose drive ended after just four plays.

The Wildcats will likely be OK no matter who they play at quarterback this week as they face the UTEP Miners in El Paso on Friday, but Arizona’s quarterback play is clearly the team’s main issue as conference play draws near, especially since the defense had a strong outing against Houston.

And while Rodriguez said Dawkins is Arizona’s starter, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Tate play at some point this week, so Rodriguez can continue to evaluate both players before next Friday’s conference-opener vs. Utah.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire