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Wyoming sits Sween in favor of Hetrick

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Redshirt junior Ian Hetrick will get his first career start at quarterback for Wyoming, replacing sophomore Karsten Sween.

The Cowboys entertain UNLV on Saturday in a Mountain West Conference game in War Memorial Stadium.

The Cowboys are coming off consecutive MWC losses to New Mexico and Air Force in which the UW offense produced only one touchdown, three field goals and turned the ball over six times, including three interceptions.

Overall, Wyoming has turned the ball over 20 times in the first seven games, 13 of which have come in the last three games.

Sween, who took over the starting job from junior Jacob Doss during the second half of UW's fifth game last year with Syracuse, has struggled this season. While he has completed 61.7 percent of his passes (140 of 227) for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns, Sween has thrown 12 interceptions in the first seven games.

"Karsten is in a little bit of a slump with his reads and he's missed a couple of passes," UW head coach Joe Glenn said. "That happens, but if it happens and you don't turn the ball over, you can still win like we did with TCU. But if it happens and you turn the ball over, then you need to take a step back and look at what's going on."

While Hetrick is getting a shot at the starting job against the Rebels, it isn't being done in the same context it was last season when Sween replaced Doss. At that time, the Cowboy coaching staff made the decision to move forward with Sween.

"We're just trying to find a way to protect the football," Glenn said. "We're certainly not writing Karsten off, but we're going to give Ian a chance and let Karsten try to settle down a bit. We're going to let him step back a bit and get a little bit better perspective of what we're trying to do and see if Ian can get it done."

Sween vowed to work hard to improve his performance.

"I'm going to try and get better. Every week I try to get better and learn from my mistakes," Sween said following Tuesday's practice session. "I felt like I tried to do too much last game ... tried to force some throws and get some stuff going. I know the bottom line is I turned the ball over too much that game. So, I'll be ready to play on Saturday.

"I'm going to do the best I can and encourage Ian and any help he needs I'm going to give him that. I know I'm a starter for this team and I'm going to do what I can to get my job back."

Hetrick was inserted into last week's Air Force game in the fourth quarter after the Falcons had built a 20-9 lead following Sween's third interception. He led the Cowboys on a 14-play, 74-yard drive that ended in a field goal for UW's final score of the game.

Hetrick redshirted last season after transferring to Wyoming in 2006 from Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College. He has appeared in five games so far this season, completing 9 of 16 passes for 103 yards with one interception.

"Coming from a junior college, you want to play and now this is my chance," Hetrick said. "I've been working with these guys for two years now and I trust every one of them. My two years at the junior college helped a lot and I'm ready for this."