Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes quarterback Jon Hays reacts to a defensive play while on the bench during a BYU possession in the first half of the game against BYU in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012.
Hays wins QB battle in 1st rivalry start
First Published Sep 16 2012 12:01 am • Last Updated Sep 17 2012 10:30 am

For the first time, Jon Hays became Utah’s quarterback by beating someone else out.

Always the replacement, the backup with durable shoulders, Hays led Utah to a 24-21 win over Brigham Young on Saturday in the first game of the post-Jordan Wynn Era.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Coach Kyle Whittingham’s decision to start the gifted freshman Travis Wilson would not have been surprising, but was in doubt after a week in which Whittingham said the two were even in the competition for the starting job.

After winning the spot, nothing the former Nebraska-Omaha quarterback did on Saturday hurt his candidacy to keep it.

Whittingham said Hays edged out Wilson in a close competition, with his experience (6-3 as a starter last season) and the fact it was a rivalry game leading to the decision.

"If it would have been game one of the season, it might have been a 50-50 split and let them each play one half and see how they did," Whittingham said.

Hays completed 18 of his 27 attempts for 196 yards and two touchdowns. His 39-yard touchdown pass to Dres Anderson with 57 seconds remaining in the third quarter put Utah up 24-7 and was the kind of stretch-the-field play Utah fans clamored for during early stages of the season.

"We’d run the same play earlier and barely missed it," Hays said.

Between Hays and Riley Nelson, the Ute was the more composed of the two in his first rivalry game start. It came on a night the Utes needed an especially sterling effort from their quarterback, with star tailback John White sidelined by an ankle injury.

"I was more prepared for it this year, and I think my play showed that," Hays said.

story continues below
story continues below

The experience seemed to give him an advantage over Wilson, who won over fans quickly by scoring two rushing touchdowns in the opener against Northern Colorado and throwing for one more in last week’s 27-20 overtime loss at Utah State.

However, it was Hays who once again replaced Wynn for the bulk of the Utah State game, and Hays who threw what would have been the game-tying touchdown in overtime were it not called off to an offensive pass interference call on Jake Murphy.

Earlier in the week, Whittingham said Wilson would remain what he calls the "change-up" quarterback if Hays were named the starter.

The freshman from San Clemente had two carries for 1 yard and did not attempt a pass.


Twitter: @oramb

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.