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Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn viewed the Las Vegas Bowl as an opportunity to redeem himself after a subpar showing in Utah's win over BYU. Now, that chance will go to backup Terrance Cain.
Wynn will miss the Dec. 22 Las Vegas Bowl with a right shoulder injury that will require surgery, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
The injury was discovered during an exam Friday.
"It was bothering him, and we had an MRI just to take a look at it, and I got the call last night," Whittingham said.
Wynn will have surgery and will be out for six months, which means he won't be able to participate in spring ball.
"It's not good news, but life goes on and we have to move forward," Whittingham said.
Cain, who is 9-1 as a starter, started the second half against BYU after Wynn struggled. But Cain struggled even more and lasted just two drives, both of which ended in interceptions.
"He is excited about his opportunity," Whittingham said. "He'll be ready to play. Terrance is a competitor, and he didn't play the way he wanted to play."
Cain led the Utes to wins over UNLV and New Mexico earlier in the season when Wynn was out with a thumb injury.
Cain has 11 rushes for 66 yards and a touchdown and is 51 of 72 for 610 yards with two interceptions and six touchdowns in the nine games in which he has played this year.
The senior said he would be ready to guide the Utes one last time.
"It's a bowl game, so I've got to go in and lead my team to victory," he said.
Wynn finishes the year 186 of 299 for 2,334 yards with 10 interceptions and 17 touchdowns. He is 11-4 as the Utes' starter and finished the year ranked second in the Mountain West in passing yards per game (233.4) and third in passing efficiency (139.9) and total offense (232.3). Wynn took a hit to his shoulder in the Utes' 68-27 win at Iowa State and suffered another against the Cougars.
While the Utes are unsure when the majority of the damage was done, Wynn's shoulder has been bothering him this week, Whittingham said.
However, Whittingham didn't believe the injury would be career-threatening.
"I don't see any reason why it would be if it heals up and progresses as anticipated," he said.
Wynn hurt his left shoulder in the 2010 spring game and had to have arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage.
With Wynn out, freshman Griff Robles moves into the No. 2 spot. He has made brief appearances in four games this year.
Whittingham said the Utes have the time they need to tweak Utah's offensive scheme to fit Cain for the bowl game. Cain is more mobile than Wynn but isn't as much of a downfield threat.
"We'll play to Terrance's strengths, that is for sure," Whittingham said. "We'll tailor the game plan around him."
Going from starter to backup to starter again is nothing new for Cain, who was beaten out for the starting role last year by Wynn, only to regain it before the 2009 season started.
Cain led the Utes to a 6-1 start last year but never moved the offense as well as the coaches wanted. He was replaced at halftime of the Wyoming game by Wynn, who led the Utes from a 10-3 deficit to a 22-10 victory.
Wynn was not made available to members of the media, as is the usual policy for injured Utah players.
"Jordan is upbeat," Whittingham said. "He's not hanging his head or feeling sorry for himself. The unfortunate part of football is the injury factor. He has to get it fixed and rehab just like so many other guys have to do."
A closer look
Terrance Cain, game by game:
Opponent Comp-Att-Int Yards TDs
UNLV 13-20-0 207 2
New Mexico 20-23-0 248 3
San Jose State 4-6-0 31 0
Iowa State 2-3-0 (-3) 0
Wyoming 1-1-0 13 0
CSU 9-11-0 106 1
Notre Dame 0-1-0 0 0
BYU 2-7-2 8 0