The two signal callers take center stage in the huge matchup between the No. 3 Horned Frogs and No. 5 Utes on Saturday in Salt Lake City. On one side you have the senior leader in Dalton, who leads all active quarterbacks with 38 wins. On the other you have Wynn, the missile-throwing sophomore who can put big numbers up in a hurry.
Their play will no doubt make a difference in the game.
“My experience and the experience we have on this team, a lot of guys who played in that game two years ago, the feeling we had in the locker room after that game was something we don’t ever want to feel again,” Dalton said of the 13-10 loss in 2008.
Dalton got off to a relatively slow start to the season by his standards, throwing six touchdowns to four interceptions in the first five games of the season. He was still able to lead TCU to victories, and did much with his legs as well. But in the last four games, Dalton has thrown 10 touchdowns to just one interception and is feeling more relaxed.
“Early on, I made some bad decisions that I shouldn’t have made throwing the ball, with pressure in my face trying to force something,” Dalton said. “That’s one thing I‘ve told our coaches. I said to run me if I’m throwing interceptions to do different things. I’m trying not to turn the ball over and give our team the best chance to win.”
Indeed, Dalton is third on the team in rushing with 404 yards and has five touchdowns on the ground, too. His running ability and experience set him apart from Wynn, who has played in only 12 career games.
Wynn was making his second career start last year in a 55-28 loss at TCU. Utah trailed 38-14 at halftime, but much of that wasn’t his doing. Utah had turnovers and mistakes that put it in a hole it couldn’t overcome.
That is just one of two losses he has as a starter. This season, he missed a few games with a sprained thumb but has played well for the most part and is 6-0.
“He’s much more experienced than when we played TCU last year,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He has several more starts under his belt, but he’s the same guy at the core. He’s always been a competitive guy that really handles pressure situations well. He’s just one year more mature and one year more experienced, and he’s going to be excited to play this week.”
On the season, Wynn is second in the Mountain West in passing, averaging 238.5 yards a game. He has thrown for 1,431 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Dalton is fourth in passing, and has thrown for 1,887 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Wynn leads the league in pass efficiency. Dalton is second, and is on pace to set the school record for completion percentage. Dalton has thrown a touchdown pass in 17 consecutive games, the longest streak in Mountain West history.
Though both quarterbacks have different styles, one thing is for certain -- the pressure will be on both their shoulders to lead their team to victory.