No. 23 Utah erases early 14-point deficit to win Poinsettia Bowl
SAN DIEGO -- Jordan Wynn threw for a career-high 338 yards and three touchdowns to rally No. 23 Utah from an early two-touchdown deficit to a 37-27 victory over California in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday night.
The Utes scored 27 straight points to win their ninth straight bowl game, the longest current streak in the country. The Golden Bears, in a bowl game for a school-record seventh straight year, had their four-game postseason winning streak snapped.
Wynn, a true freshman, improved to 3-0 at Qualcomm Stadium, including two section championships while the starter at suburban Oceanside High. He graduated last December and enrolled at Utah in January, allowing him to participate in spring ball.
Wynn completed 26 of 36 passes and improved to 3-2 as the Utes' starter.
Utah's defense came up big, too. The Utes sacked Cal's Kevin Riley five times and intercepted him twice, with linebacker Stevenson Sylvester returning a tipped pass 27 yards for a touchdown late in the game. Riley also lost a fumble.
Shane Vereen, who scored twice, was the seventh Cal back to gain more than 100 yards in a bowl, finishing with 122 yards on 20 carries.
Utah (10-3) looked overmatched after Cal (8-5) scored twice in 11 seconds midway through the first quarter. Vereen scored on a 36-yard run and Eddie Young intercepted Wynn on the first play of Utah's next drive and returned it 31 yards for a score.
After that it was all Utah, which a year ago beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Utah's defense shut down Cal and Utah scored on its last four possessions of the first half.
Wynn threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kendrick Moeai late in the first quarter and Joe Phillips' 28-yard field goal early in the second quarter pulled Utah to 14-10.
Wynn's 15-yard scoring pass to Moeai gave Utah the lead and his 21-yarder to Jereme Brooks made it 24-14 at halftime.
Riley fumbled early in the third quarter when he was sacked by Lamar Chapman, with Mike Wright recovering at the 14. That set up Phillips's 29-yard field goal for a 27-14 lead.