SALT LAKE CITY — Utah will be going bowling without starting quarterback Jordan Wynn. The sophomore has a (throwing) shoulder injury that requires surgery in the next 7-10 days and then six months of rehab.
Senior backup Terrance Cain will be the starter when the Utes seek their 10th consecutive bowl victory Dec. 22 at Sam Boyd Stadium. They're expected to face Boise State or Nevada in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The injury was discovered on an MRI and results weren't known until Friday night.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham made the announcement after Saturday afternoon's practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium. He noted that Wynn dinged up the shoulder in the Iowa State game on Oct. 9 and that it was sore for a couple of weeks. Wynn hurt it again in the BYU game and that it bothered him enough when bowl practices began to warrant the MRI.
"Not good news but life goes on," Whittingham said. "You move forward."
And that means turning to Cain, who is 9-1 as a starter at Utah.
"T. Cain has won a ton of games for us already in the past. So I have just as much faith in him as I ever did in Jordan. So I don't see it as a problem at all," said starting center Zane Taylor. "I think it's a great opportunity for him to start one more game before he ends his senior season. I wish the best for Jordan, but I know we've got a great quarterback that's going to fill in the spot. He's proven himself before and he's going to prove it again in this bowl game."
Cain, however, is coming off a poor showing against BYU. His two drives ended with interceptions and Wynn was re-inserted into the game after being pulled to start the second half.
"Terrance is a competitor and he didn't play the way he wanted to play, obviously," Whittingham said. "We expect he's going to bounce back and have a good showing in the bowl game."
Cain vows to do whatever he can for the team.
"When a soldier goes down it's the backup person's duty to pick up the role and keep it going," he said while bowls are different than the regular season because there are no more opportunities to play another game. "I'm a senior so I've got to go out and lead my team to victory."
To enhance such an outcome, Whittingham acknowledged that the Utes will play to Cain's strengths
"We'll tailor the game plan around him," he said. "If you're going to have a change in the starting quarterback it's better to know 2½ weeks out so you have some time to tailor the game plan to his skill set."
Taylor insists it won't take a major overhaul of the game plan to make it happen.
"The thing about Terrance is he's just as ready to go every week as Jordan has been. So I am not worried at all. There's really hardly anything we've got to change with the program," Taylor said. "He coaches the same. He knows the deal. He knows what to do. It's really a non-issue."
Cain also predicts the Utes "won't miss a beat" because the quarterbacks work together and prepare the same way. He's not worried because the preparation is consistent.
So, too, is Cain's attitude.
"I'm not a selfish player. I'm not worried about myself," he said. "I'm just excited to play with my team one last time."
Key word: play.
"He's the man. The ball is in his hands and here we go," Whittingham said. "It's a great opportunity for Terrance. He's got to make the most of it."
Cain, who started twice when Wynn was sidelined with a thumb injury earlier in the season, appeared in nine games. He completed 51-of-72 passes for 610 yards and six touchdowns. The only two interceptions Cain threw this season came in last week's 17-16 win over BYU.
Redshirt freshman Griff Robles is now the backup. He has seen very limited action this season. He made appearances in just four games and failed to complete the only pass he attempted. Robles, however, is fourth on the team in rushing with 124 yards on 17 carries.
Wynn, meanwhile, wasn't allowed to speak with reporters after practice. The 2009 Poinsettia Bowl Offensive MVP left the field with his throwing arm in a sling.
"Jordan's upbeat. He's not hanging his head. He's not feeling sorry for himself," Whittingham said. "It's football. The unfortunate part about football is the injury factor. We've just got to get it fixed. He's got to rehab just like so many other guys have to do."
Earlier in week, Wynn didn't suggest he had any problems that might keep him out of the game.
"I'm fine. I feel good," Wynn said. "I'm ready for the bowl game."
Wynn, who will be sidelined until May and is expected to miss all of spring ball, played in 10 games this season — completing 186-of-299 passes for 2,334 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was intercepted 10 times.
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