(Wednesday, December 23rd)
Final Score: (23) Utah 37, California 27
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Jordan Wynn threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, as 23rd-ranked Utah topped California, 37-27, in the Poinsettia Bowl, extending the nation's longest active bowl winning streak.
The Utes (10-3) have won nine consecutive bowl games, dating back to a Las Vegas Bowl defeat of Fresno State in December 1999.
"That was the one big thing they don't want to lose is the bowl streak," Wynn said. "We got a win tonight and it's a good feeling."
They took the victory Wednesday thanks to an efficient Wynn, who completed 26- of-36 passes with one interception. Kendrick Moeai caught two of Wynn's touchdown throws, while Joe Phillips kicked three field goals for Utah, which used a 17-point second quarter to shift the momentum.
Additionally, Stevenson Sylvester had a key interception return for a score in the fourth quarter for the Utes.
"For us to play like we did it was a great way to end the season," Utah linebacker Mike Wright said. "I'm very proud of how we played. Our offense really stepped up after the first quarter and it was a good victory for our team."
Shane Vereen ran for 122 yards and two scores for Cal (8-5), which played without running back Jahvid Best, who is still recovering from a scary fall in early November against Oregon State.
Kevin Riley completed 20-of-36 passes for 214 yards and a score, but was intercepted twice as the Golden Bears fell in their school-record seventh consecutive postseason appearance. Eddie Young returned an interception for a score in the loss.
"I think they kind of took us out of our game," Riley said. "In the first, second and third quarters we just really didn't get anything going."
Utah held a double-digit lead in the second half, but late in the third quarter, Cal drove for a score. Vereen started the six-play series with a 21- yard run, and Riley followed that up with a 30-yard completion to tight end Anthony Miller to get the ball to the Utah 26.
Riley later completed a 19-yard pass to Verran Tucker and an 11-yarder to Vereen, who got into the end zone on the next play from a yard out. The score got the Bears within 27-21 with 39 seconds left in the frame.
But the Utes made it a two-score game on their next drive, as Phillips kicked a 25-yard field goal nearly two minutes into the fourth.
After each team punted, Cal took over at its own one-yard line with just under seven minutes remaining. A pass interference penalty got the Bears out of the goal-line situation, though a penalty and sack set them back. Cal was faced with a 3rd-and-14 at its own 12 when Sylvester intercepted Riley's pass and ran it back, weaving between players, into the end zone from 27 yards out.
It was a back-breaking score for Cal, as Utah took a 37-21 lead with 5:27 left. That Riley was intercepted again on the first play of the ensuing drive didn't help the Bears, as Utah ran some time off the clock before punting.
Riley completed a 24-yard TD pass to Jeremy Ross with 1:46 left, but the Utes ran out the clock from there.
Vereen's 36-yard touchdown run nearly nine minutes into the opening quarter put Cal on the board, and it was a 14-0 game after Young's 31-yard interception return on the first play of the next Utah drive.
The Utes came back with a scoring drive of their own, as Wynn's six-yard pass to Moeai with 1:35 left made it a one-score game.
Utah got within 14-10 on Phillips' 28-yarder 5 1/2 minutes into the second quarter, and then took control with a pair of touchdowns later in the frame.
Wynn threw a 15-yard touch pass to Moeai, who made the grab just across the goal line with 4:58 left as the Utes went on top. Following a Bears punt, Utah went 72 yards in six plays, the last being a 21-yard pass from Wynn to Jereme Brooks with 43 seconds left.
Utah took the 24-14 lead into the break, and extended the advantage late in the third, when Lamar Chapman sacked Riley, forcing a fumble. Mike Wright recovered the ball at the Cal 14, leading to a 29-yarder from Phillips.
Wynn, a freshman, had his first career 300-yard passing game. His 26 completions were also a career high...Utah, playing in its seventh consecutive bowl game, improved to 12-3 all-time in bowl contests. Including the regular season, the Utes have won 24 of their last 27 games...Despite the loss, Cal still leads the all-time series, 4-3. The Bears fell to 10-9-1 all-time in bowls...Brooks had seven catches for 76 yards, while David Reed added six grabs for 103 yards for the Utes. Eddie Wide had a team-high 37 yards rushing on 21 attempts, while also catching four passes for 83 yards.
12/24 01:17:50 ET