Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate will miss Saturday’s game against UCLA because of an ankle injury and head coach Kevin Sumlin announced that sophomore Rhett Rodriguez, son of former Wildcat coach Rich Rodriguez, will start in his place.
Tate, a junior, has been dealing with the injury since a Sept. 8 game against Houston and has been ineffective after beginning the season as a Heisman Trophy favorite.
The Wildcats (3-4 overall, 2-2 in the Pac-12 South) will play the Bruins (1-5, 1-2 in the Pac-12 South) on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
“Going through the week, he felt pretty good, but we can’t keep going with this thing getting tweaked, and two series (later) he’s out of the game,” Sumlin said. “We’re never going to put someone in harm’s way.”
Tate was pulled from Saturday’s 42-10 loss to Utah, in a move that Sumlin called a “player safety issue.”
In seven games, Tate has completed 95 of 178 passes for 1,415 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions, and he has rushed 112 yards after running for 1,411 yards last season.
This will be the first career start for Rodriguez, who completed 20 of 38 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown last week in the Utah game. He has completed 26 of 45 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown this season.
Sumlin added that freshmen quarterbacks Jamarye Joiner and Kevin Doyle will continue to get reps in practice and might play.
Rich Rodriguez was fired last January after a $7.5-million notice of claim was filed against him alleging sexual harassment and workplace misconduct.