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Jordan McCloud to remain Arizona’s starting quarterback heading into bye week

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Arizona v Oregon Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Jordan McCloud threw five interceptions in Arizona’s 41-19 loss to Oregon on Saturday but made enough positive plays to remain the team’s starting quarterback.

“Jordan will remain our starter and he’ll play as long as he stays healthy,” head coach Jedd Fisch said after the game. “He has an ability, the more we were with him, the more he understood the system. The biggest concern I had going into the season was he only got here in training camp, and we didn’t have him in the spring like we had the other two (quarterbacks).

“He just had the poise to keep on battling. He was never afraid to throw the football. I’m sure he’s very upset right now, and I hate that for him, but those things happen and we’re going to grow from it and get better. But he’s our best player at that position and that’s why we played him.”

Making his first start as a Wildcat, McCloud completed for 21 of 35 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown in addition to the five picks. The USF transfer also rushed for 64 yards as the Arizona turned in one of its best offensive showings of the season. The Cats outgained Oregon 453-393, converted 11 of their 19 third and fourth downs, and dominated time of possession.

While McCloud’s turnovers undoubtedly played a big part in the loss, Fisch is confident he can limit those mistakes as he continues to learn the offense. The Wildcats have a bye next week, so McCloud will have two weeks of practice before UCLA visits on Oct. 9.

“Jordan was able to get, I don’t know how many plays we ran today, but I feel like we called a lot of plays and that’s a lot of repetitions that he took,” Fisch said. “I wasn’t going to take him out and not let him finish the game. I wanted him to feel it. I want him to understand so if we call that play again he understands what caused that interception and how we can improve upon it. I liked the way we controlled the ball in terms of time of possession. That’s a big thing for us.”

Fisch said Gunner Cruz will be McCloud’s backup until Will Plummer heals from the shoulder injury he suffered against NAU last Saturday. Then the two will battle it out.

“Obviously, Gunner (Cruz) started the season against BYU and had a really good game for the most part. There were some things to clean up,” Fisch said. “And then we played him against San Diego State and there was just some things that we need to get better at. Gave Will (Plummer) an opportunity to see how he played. But Will was dinged up after the game, we weren’t sure what his health was going to be. We’ve had Gunner and Jordan compete all week and Jordan showed that he had the grasp of the offense that we were looking for.”