Utah hosts winless New Mexico

BY foxsports • November 6, 2009

The Utes host winless New Mexico on Saturday, one week before Utah's showdown at unbeaten TCU.

"Regardless of who we're playing this week, we've got things we've got to fix," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "This team has done a great job for a long time now of not overlooking anybody."

That may be especially difficult this week for the Utes (7-1, 4-0). The Lobos (0-8, 0-4) are trying to avoid their first winless season since going 0-11 in 1987.

"It's more fixing what's wrong with us," Whittingham said. "We've got to focus on our deficiencies."

Utah has been struggling to finish drives and last week Whittingham decided it was time for a drastic change. Whittingham replaced starting quarterback Terrance Cain with freshman Jordan Wynn, who in his college debut rallied the Utes to a 22-10 win.

Wynn finished 9-for-14 for 82 yards and although his statistics weren't as good as Cain's, he did get Utah in the end zone and may have taken over the starting job with just a month left in the season.

Whittingham wouldn't say who will start at quarterback Saturday, saying he didn't want to give the Lobos a chance to prepare for the dual threat Cain or Wynn, who is more of a drop-back passer whom Whittingham has compared to former Ute Alex Smith.

"It doesn't do us any good to tip our hand for New Mexico," Whittingham said. "These two guys have different skill sets. As a former defensive coordinator, you certainly would prepare differently for one than you would the other."

New Mexico coach Mike Locksley said he was as concerned with Utah's defense as he was with the offense, whoever the quarterback is. The Utes held the Cowboys to 201 yards of offense, including just 51 rushing yards while keeping the game close enough for Wynn to lead the comeback.

"Utah offers us a tough challenge," Locksley said. "They have probably the best defense I've seen and the thing that stands out about Utah's defense is their athleticism."

Utah is allowing fewer than 300 yards per game and New Mexico ranks dead last in the Mountain West in total offense at 306 yards.

The Utes have exactly one week to get their offense back on track before next weekend's trip to No. 6 TCU. The Utes have been running the ball well during their five-game winning streak and can set a school record on Saturday if running back Eddie Wide rushes for 100 yards for the sixth straight game.

Utah wants to get its quarterback situation resolved this weekend.

Wynn was hoping to get his first start Saturday and not have to come in midway through like he did in his first real game since he was a senior last fall at Oceanside High School in southern California.

He said he had to settle down some nerves when he entered the game last week, but was poised enough to complete his first four passes while leading the Utes to a field goal.

"I've always had butterflies. In high school I got them every game. I've grown used to it," Wynn said. "I wouldn't say I'm nervous, I'm just really, really excited to get out there."

The Lobos have lost 12 straight, tying the second-longest streak in school history. The longest is 21 in a row, set from 1967-1969.

The Lobos and Utes have split the last four meetings, including Utah's 13-10 win last year in Albuquerque.

Locksley returned last week for New Mexico's 23-20 loss to San Diego State after serving a 10-day suspension for his role in an altercation with assistant coach J.B. Gerald, who claims his lip was split when Locksley hit him during a heated argument on Sept. 20.

Locksley has admitted to grabbing Gerald's collar, but denies striking him.

An upset on Saturday would do a lot to make the furor go away for Locksley.

"Obviously Kyle week in and week out has his team prepared," Locksley said. "Our team has played Utah well in the past, whether it be up in Utah or here, regardless of the records, and I expect our team to do so this week."