On behalf of everyone here at Rhombus Magazine, we hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving. Now, let’s talk football.
In my last post, I talked about how BYU and Utah have very similar offenses. One of the things that I mentioned was that both teams have young quarterbacks that are either feast or famine. Like everything else with these two teams, the two quarterbacks weren’t even comparable a few weeks into the season. Now, with most of the season gone, the two signal-callers are on the same playing field.
The only significant difference between these two has been their individual progression. Jordan Wynn performed very well in his first five games, despite missing action against UNLV and New Mexico with a thumb injury. However, in the last few games, he has been a model for inconsistency. Jake Heaps, on the other hand, started out the season looking like a wide-eyed 18 -year-old, throwing for only one touchdown and six interceptions. Since then, Heaps has hit gangbusters, tossing nine TD passes and one INT.
How do they stack up in each phase of the game? Who will have the better game on Saturday? Let’s take a look.
You are going to be hard pressed to find a quarterback that has better throwing motion and footwork than Jake Heaps. His fine tuned mechanics propelled him to be one of the highest-rated quarterbacks coming out of high school. He was groomed in spread systems and came to BYU without many, if any, flaws. Jordan Wynn isn’t horrible with his mechanics, but lately he has started to sling the ball around and throw off of his back foot. He looked a lot better in the game against San Diego State, but who knows if he can have a repeat performance. ADVANTAGE: Heaps
Both of these quarterbacks have proven this year that they are able to make all of the throws to all parts of the field, but neither has been consistent in doing so. Heaps didn’t really find his touch until as of late. In his last three games, he has a completion percentage of 63 percent and has started to establish a connection with wide receivers Cody Hoffman and Luke Ashworth. Wynn has a better overall completion percentage, in large part due to his improvement in throwing further downfield. BYU fans will remember last year when Wynn had multiple opportunities to hit a wide-open receiver downfield but failed to connect. Expect him to have a few more completions over 40 yards this time around. ADVANTAGE: Tie
If anyone remembers the Utah State game from earlier this year, you will remember Jake Heaps throwing two interceptions and four other passes that also should have been picked. A lot has changed since that game, but even in the last few contests there have been multiple passes that should have been intercepted. For most of the year Jordan Wynn has done what he needed to do to get the win. He doesn’t try to force the ball or throw into high-risk areas. The only time I see him getting into trouble is when the defense gets in his face. Then again, what quarterback isn’t flustered by a good pass rush? ADVANTAGE: Wynn
There is no question that Jordan Wynn has more experience in that he has started and played in more games than Jake Heaps, but, of the two, who has played tougher opponents and performed better under pressure? Heaps has had all of his success this season against the riffraff of the Mountain West. He did beat San Diego State as the starter but he didn’t have to do much as the running game took care of business. Wynn looked like an All-American last year in the bowl game against Cal and was lights-out against Pitt and SDSU. You might not know which Jordan Wynn will show up but he has shown that if he is on, he can beat good opponents. ADVANTAGE: Wynn
There is no question that Jake Heaps has ridiculous amounts of confidence. I remember watching him get thrown around like a little rag doll against Florida State, but never at any time did he look like he was shaken. He may look like he is still 12 years old, but he is playing with the swagger of a veteran. Jordan Wynn is the exact opposite. That game against SDSU might have helped him, but I’m not sure he is fully recovered from the booing he had to endure in their last home game. You can just tell by his body language that he is unsure of himself. ADVANTAGE: Heaps
Who will have the better game?
It’s really hard to say at this point who is going to have a better game. Jake Heaps has been on the rise but is still very young and makes rookie mistakes. Jordan Wynn can get the job done but his confidence has been shaky (not a reference to Utah punt returner Shaky Smithson) the past few games.
When it comes right down to it, I look at the defense of each team. BYU has been playing stellar defense since Bronco Mendenhall took over. However, the Cougars haven’t been tested since SDSU. Also, BYU’s defense is infamous for letting no-name Utah quarterbacks have huge games. (See Brett Ratliff.)
Utah is playing at home and Kyle Whittingham always has his defense prepared. Sure, they gave up big numbers to the Aztecs last week, but they still have the talent to shut down BYU.
PREDICTION: Wynn will have the better game.
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