Stanford’s national title hopes dim severely with a loss to Utah

Dr. Saturday

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 as well.

A week after escaping by three at home to Washington, there was no great escape this week for the Cardinal, who lost 27-21 at Utah.

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Stanford got the ball back trailing by six with just less than eight minutes remaining, and promptly was its own methodical self, marching down to the Utah six via 13 plays over 82 yards. However, that left a 4th and 2 with 51 seconds left and Kevin Hogan's pass fell incomplete. 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 soaking up as much time as it could with the ball. Before Stanford's final drive, Utah held nearly a 2-1 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 and Rose Bowl are still in play for the Cardinal, especially with a November 7 matchup with Oregon still ahead. However, 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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