San Diego State, Utah try to recover from tough defeats
November 21, 2009
SALT LAKE CITY – Banged and bruised, Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn is ready for another shot.
Wynn and the No. 23 Utes host San Diego State on Saturday, pitting Wynn against his hometown team one week after a humbling loss in his second career start.
Wynn took hit after hit last week in a 55-28 loss to No. 4 TCU, which put the Horned Frogs alone in first place in the Mountain West Conference with two games to go.
“I’m fine. Just ready to hurry up and get back on the field and get this taste out of my mouth,” said Wynn, who was 16-for-32 for 219 yards with one interception and one touchdown.
The Utes (8-2, 5-1) know they aren’t going to catch the Frogs and repeat as Mountain West champions, so they’re focusing on closing the season with wins over the Aztecs (4-6, 2-4) and then next week at rival BYU.
Utah’s conference title hopes unraveled quickly last week when TCU scored four straight touchdowns in the first half, including an interception return on a pass by Wynn deep in Utah territory.
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It was only Wynn’s second start in college and was a painful way to learn.
“They were exactly what I expected. They were fast and they were a team that you had to play a pretty solid game in order to hang with and we didn’t do that,” Wynn said. “That’s in the past. We’ve just got to move on and all our focus is with San Diego State.”
Wynn grew up in the San Diego area, was recruited by the Aztecs and has friends on the team. Although he took the loss last week, he has still established himself as Utah’s quarterback of the future.
In his brief career, Wynn has completed 43 of 74 passes for 598 yards with four touchdowns to two interceptions.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham expects Wynn to continue to improve, especially after what he went through last week against the top defense in the Mountain West.
“Going against that caliber of competition only makes you better. The thing I was really impressed with, he got hit quite often in that game and kept picking himself back up. He hung in there the entire time, never lost his poise, never got flustered,” Whittingham said. “He’s a competitive kid. He’s got the kind of attitude and demeanor you want in a quarterback.”
Saturday is Utah’s final home game and the Utes plan the honor the 24 seniors in a pregame ceremony before trying to extend a 16-game winning streak at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Utah has won its last three against San Diego State, but the Aztecs have improved this season under first-year coach Brady Hoke and defensive coordinator Rocky Long, the former New Mexico coach who has given Utah trouble in the past.
“From a fundamental standpoint, from a technique standpoint, just across the board, I think they’re doing much better,” Whittingham said.
San Diego State has already doubled last year’s win total and still has two games to play. The Aztecs could easily be at .500 right now, but couldn’t hang on to a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to Wyoming 30-27.
Hoke is less concerned with hearing about improvement than he is with winning.
“It’s still a loss. It doesn’t change anything,” Hoke said. “To me, it’s another learning experience and what we have to do as a football team and as a staff is take the good things that we did and learn things we didn’t do as well.”