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Arizona QB Grant Gunnell exits with shoulder injury vs. UCLA, doesn’t return

Arizona v UCLA Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats were hoping to avoid getting off to a shaky start at UCLA, but they were immediately hit with adversity when starting quarterback Grant Gunnell got injured on the very first play of the 27-10 loss.

The sophomore took a huge hit from a free rusher and landed hard on his right side after releasing a checkdown pass to Gary Brightwell. Gunnell was down for a few seconds before slowly retreating to the sideline, clearly still in pain.

He was replaced by true freshman Will Plummer who, on his second series, led a touchdown drive to put the Wildcats up 7-0 with 10:05 left in the first quarter. Michael Wiley plunged in for the three-yard TD.

Plummer finished 17 of 34 for 151 yards with two interceptions while also running for 56 yards on 11 carries.

Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin didn’t have much to say about Gunnell’s injury after the game, only that it was indeed a shoulder injury and that he will be evaluated when the Wildcats return to Tucson.

Gunnell entered the night completing 68 percent of his passes for 545 yards, six touchdowns and one interception.

Plummer was a three-star recruit from Gilbert High School, where he passed for over 6,800 yards and 58 touchdowns

“He had earned that right to be the backup during practice, since we started in the fall,” Sumlin said. “Obviously it had an effect (on the offense), but how he had practiced you could see some things he did to move the football when he first came into the game.”