SAN DIEGO — The Poinsettia Bowl game wasn't even 10 minutes old and you had to wonder if Jordan Wynn should have even been on the field.
A year earlier, he had been leading his high school team to a CIF sectional championship on the same Qualcomm Stadium field. But the first quarter of Wednesday's game wasn't even over and he had already been sacked twice and was 2 for 5, with his last pass going 30 yards the other direction for a Cal touchdown.
"You throw a pick-6, it's not a great feeling," the 19-year-old Wynn said. "You just have to bounce back."
Bounce back indeed.
Wynn led the Utes to 24 unanswered points and finished the night completing 26-of-36 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. He was the obvious choice as the game's offensive MVP.
"It was great to get my third win here," said Wynn, a San Diego native who led his team to another championship at Qualcomm Stadium as a high school junior. "It's sort of become a second home to me."
After the first-quarter interception, which put Cal up 14-0, some fans probably wondered if Wynn should be taken out in favor of junior Terrance Cain. But he said offensive coordinator Dave Schramm told him to "be patient, relax and forget about it."
"The thing about Jordan is he has a real short memory," Schramm said. "When he threw the (first) touchdown pass to Jereme Brooks, he came over and said, 'There's still a lot of football to play.' He doesn't get too high and doesn't get too low."
"You can't let things linger," said Wynn. "It was still real early in the game, and I knew that and the team knew that. It was just a matter of staying patient and getting back in it. I knew with our offense, we're pretty explosive and could get back into it quick and we started putting up points."
Wynn couldn't have been much better from that point on. He led the Utes to a quick score, completing four straight passes, the last one a 6-yard touchdown toss to Kendrick Moeai.
On the next series, he completed 2-of-3 passes as the Utes scored on a field goal, followed by 4-of-6 on the next series with another TD pass to Moeai from 15 yards out to give the Utes the lead for good, 17-14. Later he hit Brooks with a 15-yarder for another score to make it 24-14.
"That's the way he is. He's unflappable, has ice-water in his veins," said coach Kyle Whittingham. "He was a little bit unsettled at first, but he got into rhythm."
In the second half, Wynn didn't throw any touchdown passes, but still completed 11 of 15 for 113 yards. Of his 10 incompletions on the night, half probably came on intentional throws out of bounds to avoid a sack.
Wynn said he wanted to make sure the Utes kept their bowl streak alive and said he'd like to have four bowl wins before he leaves Utah.
"I'm just getting started and hopefully I have a long career ahead," he said.
Coach Whittingham agrees.
"He's going to win a lot of football games for us. He's our guy."
E-MAIL: [email protected]