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Instant analysis: Utah 37, Cal 27

12/23/2009

Utah’s 37-27 win over Cal continues the Mountain West’s bowl winning streak and is another dominating performance over a team from the Pac-10. BYU defeated Oregon State 44-20 on Tuesday. The win further lends credibility to the Mountain West Conference and will all but guarantee the Utes yet another Top 25 finish.

How the game was won: After falling into a 14-0 hole midway through the first half, Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn settled down and proceeded to lead the Utes to 27 unanswered points while having the best game of his young career. Cal couldn’t get anything going on offense and Utah dialed up the pressure on quarterback Kevin Riley and the Bears’ receivers continually dropped passes.

Turning point: After starting with 10 plays and 47 yards through its first two possessions of the first half, Utah turned it around and finished its last four possessions of the first half with 32 plays for 210 yards and 24 unanswered points to take a 24-14 halftime lead from which Cal was never able to recover.

Stat of the game: Utah true freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn completed 26 of 36 passes for 338 yards, his first career 300-yard game, but 234 of those yards came after the catch.

Player of the game: Utah free safety Robert Johnson was a stellar defensive force from the opening kick. He popped two Cal receivers early to set the tone, then tipped a ball that led to a pick-6 by Stevenson Sylvester. Johnson capped his evening by grabbing an interception late in the fourth quarter.

Record performance: With the win, Utah notches a 10-win season for just the fifth time in school history. This is the second time in school history that the Utes have had back-to-back 10-win seasons. In 2003, the Utes won 10 games and then turned around to win 12 in 2004. Last year, Utah went 13-0. This is also Utah’s ninth consecutive bowl win, which ties it with USC for second all-time and puts the Utes two wins behind Florida State.