Sports

Utah springs a surprise on No. 5 Stanford, 27-21

A run defense that suddenly seemed porous and two costly lost fumbles shoved Stanford's dream of an undefeated season down the drain on Saturday.

Host Utah played inspired football, capitalizing on every Stanford mistake, swarming to the ball defensively and hanging onto the ball offensively, reducing No. 5 Stanford's time of possession to record a 27-21 upset victory in a Pac-12 Conference contest.

"They're good. They've always been good and we just weren't good enough," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "This is as well as I've seen Utah play on the offensive side. They really strung things together. Their offensive line is bigger than ours, nobody talks about that."

The Cardinal (3-1, 5-1) must soothe its wounded souls quickly to get ready for UCLA coming to Stanford for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff this upcoming Saturday.

"We don't have time to wallow," Shaw said. "We have a game with UCLA next week and they will come after us. We have to play hard and play smart."

Ty Montgomery ran a kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown, caught eight passes for 131 yards and, for good measure, picked up five yards on a run play. He also fumbled away a scoring opportunity.

"Utah played their hearts out," Montgomery said.

Kevin Hogan, who lost for the first time as a starting quarterback, threw for 246 yards on 15 of 27 passing. He was also sacked twice and fumbled away another scoring opportunity.

"Their front seven doesn't get enough credit," Shaw said. "They pressure the quarterback rushing three, rushing four, and we did not do a good enough job keeping our quarterback clean. We weren't good enough on third down again and I take that on my shoulder. We can be so much better."

The last time Stanford lost was 364 days ago, Oct. 13, 2012, in a 20-13 overtime game at Notre Dame. The second-longest winning streak (13) in the nation is no longer.

The season, fortunately, is far from over. The Cardinal can still make it to the Pac-12 championship game, though it looks a little more difficult now. Utah was the only unranked team among a group of five, that began with Washington, Stanford faces through Nov. 7.

Tyler Gaffney rushed for 108 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown. The rest of the team rushed for a combined 35 yards.

Utah gained 181 yards on the ground, with Bubba Poole going for 111 yards, becoming the second straight running back to reach the century mark against the Cardinal, which mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback, falling short with an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-two from the Utah six-yard line with 51 seconds remaining.

"Every team that comes here has been in deep water and they've been close games," Cardinal linebacker Trent Murphy said. "It was not a surprise to us that they played well. We're disappointed more than anything else."

Stanford, with a mere six first downs, trailed at halftime for the first time all year and the 14 first-half points were its fewest. Thank goodness for Montgomery.

Joe Hemschoot intercepted a pass at the Stanford 16 to end Utah's opening drive of the second second half. Montgomery fumbled the ball back to the Utes at the Utah 47, which resulted in a field goal.

Hogan also fumbled the ball away on Stanford's next series, which also led to a field goal.

The Cardinal did score the first two times it had the football. Gaffney went over from the one on the opening drive. Stanford got into position to score when Hogan completed passes of 34 yards to Montgomery and 28 yards to Kodi Whitfield.

This marked the first time in school history the Utes (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) have knocked off a top-five program at Rice-Eccles Stadium. They beat No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl following the 2008 season. The fans rushed the field after the final gun.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

Comments

Posted by Terry, a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Utes dominated that game today. Cardinal was flat out outplayed. If there was a weak spot Utah found and exploited it. Hard to find any flaws in the way Utah punished the Cardinal today.


Posted by PRFreedom, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 13, 2013 at 8:31 am

Utah can play with the top teams. However most top teams will ultimately prevail. Stanford is lacking any top playmakers to do that. They'll still probable finish in the top 25-30 at season's end.


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