Tom Smart, Deseret News
LOS ANGELES — For Jordan Wynn, it almost turned out like he used to fantasize growing up playing football in southern California as he tried to lead his team to an upset of USC in the Coliseum.
"You're out in the front yard, you're like, 'I'm in the Coliseum down three' — that's the scenario," he said. "Being from southern California, there's not a whole lot of other scenarios you think about."
The scenario didn't finish quite as he hoped as Utah's last-minute drive came up just a bit short in a 23-14 loss.
Wynn nearly pulled it off, leading his team 38 yards in less than a minute to the Trojan 24-yard line, only to see the Trojans block the potential game-tying field goal and then run it in for a touchdown as time ran out.
"To move the ball like that and come up short, is not the best feeling," he said.
Wynn bounced back from a so-so opening performance against Montana State a week earlier and threw for more than twice as many yards against a much better defense. For the day he completed 23 of 46 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown.
"I think I threw the ball a lot better than I did in the first game," Wynn said. "We talked a lot about cutting it loose — I thought I cut it loose tonight. For me it was coming out and throwing it. Last week I was very safe with the football as everyone saw, but I was throwing the ball downfield a lot more tonight."
Still, it was discouraging not to come away with a victory.
"Frustration is how I would sum it up," he said. "The defense played well the whole game. We've just got to score. Finally, we get close at the end and we get it blocked. We've just got to learn from it and get better."
The Utes got off to a slow start offensively, picking up just 42 yards in the first quarter. However, they got rolling in the second quarter, getting down to the USC 25 before coming up short on 4th-and-1 early in the quarter and putting together an 84-yard touchdown drive late in the quarter.
"We were pretty good the whole game, really," Wynn said. "At halftime we came in and knew we were moving the ball on them."
In the third quarter, the Utes moved it to midfield or better on their first two drives, before capitalizing on their third drive, which lasted just two plays to cut the lead to 17-14.
The Utes moved into USC territory early in the fourth quarter before Wynn was sacked on third down, forcing a punt. Then came the final drive, which started on the Utah 38 and ended with the blocked kick,
"We've just got to find a way to get in the end zone," Wynn said.
Wynn's favorite receiver was junior DeVonte Christopher, who came up with a career night with 11 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown after getting just two catches for 11 yards the week before.
"I really thought Jordan played well," said Christopher. "He had a couple of sacks, but that happens. For the most part Jordan played well and I was impressed with him."
For Wynn, there's no consolation prize in barely losing to mighty USC in the Coliseum.
"Right now, no," he said when asked about coming so close. "You want to win the game. To say, 'oh we got within three of SC' is nothing to be proud about."
But he's not going to let it stay with him.
"The frustration is going to linger tonight and maybe tomorrow and that's it," he said.
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