We knew we had our work cut out for us because they are a good football team. Every team that comes here has been in deep water and they've been close games. It was not a surprise to us that they played well. —Trent Murphy, Stanford linebacker
SALT LAKE CITY — The Stanford Cardinal adamantly insisted their attention was on Utah and only on Utah, not about moving up in the rankings, a grueling upcoming schedule or even growing national title talk.
They weren't caught day dreaming, just by surprise as their 13-game winning streak was halted.
The Utes relied on a steady dose of bubbles screens to stun Stanford 27-21 on Saturday and knock the Cardinal from fifth to No. 13 in the latest poll.
Now, the Cardinal try to regroup and move on because, "we don't have time to wallow," coach David Shaw said.
Especially not with this trifecta of teams looming on the schedule: No. 9 UCLA next week, a trip to Oregon State and then a clash with second-ranked Oregon. Those figured to be the teams to potentially knock off the Cardinal (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12), maybe not so much Utah (4-2, 1-2).
Only, this was a tenacious Utes team, which nearly beat the Bruins the week before. The Cardinal knew what they were facing and asserted they didn't overlook them.
"They're good," Shaw said. "They've always been good. ... They got us. They flat-out got us."
Shaw wasn't really in the mood to contemplate what this loss meant for the season, quickly dismissing talk about national championship aspirations possibly being out the window.
"I don't care about (that)," he said. "I care about the next game we play. ... I don't care what the talking heads say, or where we're ranked, that stuff doesn't matter. We have games to play. At the end of the year, if we earn a bowl game, tell us where to go and we'll go play. It can't be our focus. It has to be on us and on our games."
Ty Montgomery had another big game for the Cardinal, returning a kick 100 yards for a score and catching eight passes for 131 yards.
It's the second straight week Montgomery's had kick return for a touchdown.
"We tried to kick away from him, but he's just that good," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, whose fans stormed the field after the upset, one of the biggest in school history. "A heck of a player."
Montgomery was on the sideline on a critical third-down play with the ball near the goal line late in the game. The Cardinal went with their jumbo package with the ball at the 6 yard line, sending in two tight ends, a fullback and a running back to give the appearance of a run.
Instead, Kevin Hogan tried to connect with tight end Charlie Hopkins, only to miss his target.
On fourth down, the Cardinal, a run-oriented team with a top-notch offensive line, tried to throw again, but Hogan — under all kinds of pressure — overthrew Devon Cajuste in the back of the end zone.
Any misgivings over those pass plays?
"We trust our plays enough to make those calls at the end of the game, to throw touchdown passes," Shaw explained. "Obviously, it didn't work."
Hogan was solid but not spectacular for a second straight week. He finished 15 of 27 for 246 yards and a touchdown. He also had a fumble as he lost for the first time as a starter.
His quarterback's psyche is hardly a concern for Shaw.
"This is a young quarterback that has a chance to be extremely good. So I don't worry about his confidence," Shaw said. "He's going to bounce back."
His team won't dwell on this loss, either — simply fix what needs to be fixed.
"We knew we had our work cut out for us because they are a good football team," linebacker Trent Murphy said. "Every team that comes here has been in deep water and they've been close games. It was not a surprise to us that they played well.
"We weren't really expecting all that perimeter stuff they did. We expected them to try and run downhill and keep it in the middle."62 comments on this story
But the Utes deviated from that course of action, relying on screens to wide receivers and tailbacks. Bubba Poole caught seven passes for 75 yards, while receiver Dres Anderson hauled in four passes for 82, including a 51-yard TD catch.
"They create issues as they stretch you out from sideline to sideline," Shaw said. "It's a math game and they just go where we have fewer guys. We made some adjustments, which slowed them down in the second half, and you didn't see as many big plays."
As for moving on from their first loss in a year, Murphy didn't think that would be an issue.
"It's all about how we respond from here on out," he said. "It's still a long season ahead of us and a lot of games to win."