Update 9:20 a.m. It looks like Fifita will be under center to start today in Tucson.
Sources: Arizona’s Noah Fifita took a majority of the first-team reps this week and is expected to start for the fourth consecutive week. Jayden de Laura is working back into the rotation after hurting his ankle on Sept. 23. Fifita has completed 75.2 percent of his passes.…— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) October 28, 2023
The Arizona Wildcats take on the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers in a Pac-12 matchup in Week 9, with kickoff scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 28. Jayden de Laura was named the starting quarterback when the season began, but an ankle injury has kept de Laura sidelined since Week 5.
In three starts, backup Noah Fifita has gone 1-2, but he has far outperformed what that record might suggest. Fifita, a freshman, led the Wildcats to a 44-6 win over a ranked Washington State team. While Arizona lost to USC and Washington — both top 10 teams at the time that Arizona faced them — the former happened in triple overtime, and the latter was by just a single score.
Fifita has passed for 877 yards, eight touchdowns, and two interceptions in his three starts against ranked conference opponents. De Laura started the year with 1,069 yards, nine touchdowns, and three interceptions against four unranked opponents. He also added three touchdowns on the ground. If De Laura is healthy this weekend as Arizona prepares to take on Oregon State, who will start?
De Laura was listed as a game time decision in Week 7 ahead of the bye. We can expect that he is available to play this week, but Fifita has earned the starting spot with his top-notch performances against some very tough opponents. Fifita is the future of the program, and with several losses already under the Wildcats’ belts, I see Arizona going ahead with the freshman as they prepare to move to the Big 12 next season.