Stanford had built its identity on controlling the line of scrimmage. Utah turned that formula on its head to secure its signature win since joining the Pac-12 by upsetting the No. 5-ranked Cardinal, 27-21, Saturday.
Things we learned
From Johnny Manziel's heroics in a thriller at Ole Miss to Marcus Mariota's dismantling of Washington, here are 37 things we learned from college football's seventh weekend. **More ...**
Led by 111 yards on 22 carries from Bubba Poole, Utah outgained Stanford on the ground, 181-143. Willing to test Stanford on the edge with screens and outside runs, Stanford's defensive line seemed to run out of gas against its massive Utah counterpart, opening up holes for Poole.
And with Dres Anderson catching a 51-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, the Stanford secondary had to respect everything in the Utah arsenal, keeping safeties Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards on their toes.
Quarterback Travis Wilson bounced back from his six-interception mess against UCLA and was 23-of-34 passing for 234 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. The lanky sophomore also rushed for 35 yards, outplaying Stanford signal-caller Kevin Hogan.
Hogan was 15 of 27 for 246 yards and one touchdown, but his last two throws from the Utah 6-yard line were rushed and fell incomplete in the final minute. Hogan was sacked twice by defensive end Nate Orchard and was under constant pressure from the underrated Utah line.
The only reason Stanford had a chance to win the game on its final possession was another outstanding performance from wide receiver Ty Montgomery. For the second consecutive week, Montgomery scored on a kick return. The 100-yard strike was the third kick return for a touchdown of Montgomery's career, tying the school record.
Montgomery also caught eight passes for 131 yards. It was the fourth 100-yard receiving game of his career, and he served as the only reliable offensive weapon for a Stanford attack that sputtered for the second straight game.
The bigger concerns, however, might be on defense.
Taking into account how Washington and Utah moved the ball on the touted Stanford defense by making them play sideline-to-sideline and account for tempo, the way to expose the Cardinal seems to be public knowledge. With games against UCLA next week and Oregon on Nov. 7 -- opponents that use that exact approach -- Stanford's national title hopes look to be in serious danger.
For Utah, its Pac-12 aspirations are just beginning.