LAS VEGAS — Utah quarterback Terrance Cain is living the dream, or so it seems.
The senior, who will start in place of the injured Jordan Wynn in MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, has extra incentive to play well.
Although he has made 10 previous starts at Utah, Wednesday's game against Boise State will be the first he makes with his mother in the crowd.
Rosemarie Cain-Tennison, who is a non-military employee working in Afghanistan for the past couple of years, is spending the first part of her Christmas break watching Terrance play at Sam Boyd Stadium.
"It means a whole lot. It means the world to me," Cain said while noting that his older brother will also be on hand. "It makes it extra special."
Cain-Tennison has seen a couple of her son's games at Utah, but none as a starter — where he has built a 9-1 record over the past two seasons.
The quest for a 10th victory comes just less than a month after a poor showing (two drives, two interceptions) against BYU. A shoulder injury to Wynn opened the door for a chance at redemption.
"You don't want to end your career with anything like that," Cain said. "So if you get another opportunity you've got to make it count."
SUNDAY'S SKIRMISH: Whittingham downplayed the little "chest bumping" that broke out between Utah and Boise State players at Sunday's combined dinner at the Hard Rock Café on The Strip.
"Guys are competitive and they get excited," Whittingham said. "It's not that uncommon in bowl situations. It's unfortunate. You don't want it to happen but I think it's behind us and we'll move forward."
The incident may have put a little more pep into the team at practice, although Whittingham explained that the Utes have had good practice habits all along.
The brief encounter at the restaurant did leave an impression, however.
"We're not just here to have fun and everything. We're here to play a football game," said senior captain Zane Taylor. "If someone from the other team wants to beat his chest and try to start a fight, so be it. We're not that kind of team."
The Broncos, he added, didn't need to prove they were ready to play football at some family type event.
WET WEATHER: Utah's practice at UNLV Monday may have been a taste of things of come. It rained and more is in the forecast for Wednesday's game.
"It'll have a little effect, but it's the same for both teams," Whittingham said. "I don't think it's an advantage one way or the other."
EXTRA POINTS: Whittingham and Boise State coach Chris Petersen will hold a final press conference Tuesday morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center … Former NFL player and coach Herman Edwards of ESPN will be the guest speaker at the annual bowl luncheon … Wide receiver DeVonte Christopher and some of his teammates helped his grandmother and family feed the homeless at the Salvation Army in North Las Vegas on Sunday.