On the same day we asked if Oregon had a claim for college football's top spot, No. 5 Stanford lost its right to be considered in that conversation.
A week after escaping with a three-point win at home against Washington, the Cardinal didn't have another miraculous comeback in it on Saturday, losing 27-21 at Utah.
Stanford got the ball back trailing by six with just over eight minutes remaining, and promptly was its own methodical self, marching down to the Utah 6-yard line via 13 plays over 82 yards. However, that left a 4th-and-2 with 51 seconds left and Kevin Hogan's pass fell incomplete. And just like that, Utah had its first win over a top-five opponent at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
A big reason for that was receiver Dres Anderson, who tied the game at 14 with a ridiculous leaping touchdown catch and run and then gave Utah the lead for good at 21-14 when he took a jet sweep into the end zone from three yards out. The Utes did it by taking a page from Stanford's playbook and soaked up as much time as it could with the ball. Before Stanford's final drive, Utah held a 3:2 time-of-possession advantage.
After Utah took the lead, Stanford had the ball twice in the third quarter, but fumbled both times. And that same verb can be used to describe its national title hopes.
The Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl are still in play for the Cardinal, however, especially with a November 7 matchup with Oregon still ahead. But since Ohio State, Florida State, Clemson, Alabama and a host of other schools are still undefeated, a trip to Pasadena for the game a week after the Rose Bowl is out of the equation unless utter madness ensues in college football.
We've seen it happen before, but for now, Stanford's at the back of the line and the wait time looks interminable.
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