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SALT LAKE CITY -- Coming off the heartbreaking loss against division rival USC, where Utah missed an opportunity to tie the game with a blocked field goal, the Utes look to move forward against in-state rival BYU for the acclaimed "Holy War."
Both the Cougars and the Utes look to put the following week's losses behind them as they focus upon state bragging rights for this year's rivalry match. And for both teams, much of the focus will be upon the quarterbacks: BYU sophomore Jake Heaps and Utah junior Jordan Wynn.
Both have had their varied successes and their less-than-impressive performances on the field. This week we take a look at Utah's starting quarterback and the players that may see some playing time Saturday or in the future.
- Number: 3
- Class: Junior
- Hometown: Oceanside, Calif.
- High School: Oceanside HS
- Height /Weight: 6-2 /202
- Birthdate: 07/05/1990
- Experience: 2VL
- Number: 9
- Class: Junior
- Hometown: Paradise, Calif.
- Last College: Butte College
- Height /Weight: 6-0 /212
- Birthdate: 04/17/1990
- Experience: JC
- Number: 13
- Class: Freshman
- Hometown: Highland, Calif.
- High School: Redlands East Valley HS
- Height /Weight: 6-3 /220
- Birthdate: 09/15/1991
- Experience: HS
Since taking over the starting position from Terrance Cain in 2009 during a home game against Wyoming, Wynn has been Utah's go-to quarterback. Over the years there have been some bumps and bruises along the way, but Wynn has led the Utes to several successful seasons. In the past two seasons, including the first two games of this season, the Utes are 58-of-62 in the red zone with Wynn as quarterback.
Before suffering an injury to his throwing arm last year, Wynn threw for three 300-yard games against Colorado State, San Diego State University and Iowa State. In his freshman performance against Cal in the Poinsettia Bowl, Wynn threw 26-of-36 for a season-high 338 yards and three touchdowns.
Growing up, Wynn said he was a fan of football in general, not liking a specific team, but was attracted to the play of Brett Favre.
"I just like the way he plays, but people say he plays like a kid at times," Wynn said. "I just try to go out there and play like that -- have fun and smile and kind of cut loose. I consider myself pretty competitive, but you can always be more competitive. I hate losing and I'm sure he did too. He was just a very talented guy."
Often, players have a superstition or specific routine they perform before entering a game, but Wynn said he prefers to keep it low key.
"I kind of joke that my only superstition is that I'm not superstitious," he said. "I don't do anything the same. I don't really do anything different. I don't really give much thought into it, I just kind of go about my business."
Off the field, Wynn said he's just your typical guy: "I'm just a regular guy; I like going and seeing a moving, hanging out with friends. In season, I'm spending most of my time here watching film, but, you know, catch a movie once in a while, hang out with some friends, just the normal college kid."
Wynn is most thankful to his father for helping him get to where he is in football. "He's been there for me for as long as I can remember. I lived with him in high school and he's done nothing but prepare me for this and help me get to this point."
Junior college transfer Jon Hays joined the Utes this summer after Nebraska-Omaha dropped its football program, with Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow seeking him out. "He's the only one in Division 1 football that wanted to give me a shot -- see what I could do -- so I'm really grateful for him bringing me in here," Hays said.
Prior to committing to Nebraska-Omaha, Hays played at Butte College where he led the football team to a 9-2 record and an overtime win against Delta College in the ASBG Bowl. As a sophomore, Hays threw for a season-high 411 yards against Foothill and was 118-of-218 passing on the season for 1,823 yards and 10 touchdowns. Hays also rushed for five touchdowns, with his longest being an 83-yard run.
As a fan of the San Francisco 49ers growing up, Hays said it has been a great experience being in Utah where Alex Smith led the Utes offense.
"I've always been a big time Niners fan," Hays said. "Coming here to the U, it's been cool with Alex Smith going to the Niners and everything -- getting to throw around with him. That's been great ever since I got here."
Although a 49ers fan, Hays said he enjoys the game of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees the most because "he's the shortest one." Hays added, "I know he feels for me trying to look over the line."
Hays said he doesn't really have much of a routine, but used music to set the tone for his game day, saying, "The California surf Reggae stuff in the morning and then when game time gets a little closer, I'll switch to Lil' Wayne or something like that."
As the true freshman quarterback on the team, Tyler Shreve entered spring practice as the No. 2 starting quarterback behind Jordan Wynn. Shreve played for Redlands East Valley High where he was the team captain and was named three-time all-league.
Watching football as a child, Shreve was attracted to the play of former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.
"I loved the way he played the game and I though he was the best," Shreve said. "His ability to read defenses and know the game well -- know where he's going to be at, at any given time -- he was great at that. He couldn't move very well, but he knew where to put the ball."
Shreve said it's been a difficult adjustment moving from high school to college, but has learned a lot in the short time he's been with the Utes.
"I feel like I've got great guys around me, helping me out a lot, getting me used to it," Shreve said. "The speed is definitely different -- everyone is a little faster -- but other than that, I'm adapting pretty well."
But Shreve added that he was confident in his abilities and would feel ready if Coach Kyle Whittingham called on him to enter the game. "Oh definitely," he said.
As a way to prepare for an upcoming game, Shreve said he writes something each week on his wrist to remind himself why he's playing. He also said that music is a big part of his pre-game ritual.
"A couple music songs I listen to, but nothing too random," Shreve said. "I would say a little bit of Ludacris or Lil' Wayne, just to get the head flowing -- get a little bit of hype."
Although football is a passion for Shreve, it isn't the only sport he focuses on. Drafted in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, Shreve participated on Utah's baseball team in the spring as one of their pitchers. In 2009, Shreve also participated in the All-American Baseball Classic.