SALT LAKE CITY – Travis Wilson weaved his way through the sea of red, torn between retreating to the locker room and celebrating this signature win with the Utah faithful that had stormed the field.
As if he really had a choice, especially after the enthusiastic crowd lifted him up.
That’s what happens after a quarterback helps orchestrate the biggest football upset at home in school history and the most significant victory Utah has had since moving to the Pac-12 three years ago. The Utes made a goal-line stand in the final minute and Wilson threw two TD passes in a 27-21 victory against No. 5 Stanford on Saturday.
It was 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.
“Great win,” Wilson simply said. “Our plan was perfect tonight.”
Not surprisingly, the fans rushed the field after the final gun. The ring leader was defensive end Trevor Reilly.
“I was waving them on, saying, ‘Let’s go!’ ” Reilly said. “We came through tonight.”
The defense certainly did.
Kevin Hogan marched the Cardinal down to the 6 with a minute remaining. On third down, he threw an incomplete pass to Charlie Hopkins. Then, on fourth down, amid heavy pressure, Hogan overthrew Devon Cajuste.
The Utes took a knee twice to end the game, along with the 13-game winning streak of Stanford (5-1, 3-1).
“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.”
Utah kept Stanford’s stingy defense off balance all day with a mix of draws and wide receiver screens. Dres Anderson caught a 51-yard TD pass and scored another on a short run. Bubba Poole finished with 111 yards rushing and had another 75 on seven catches.
Ty Montgomery returned a kickoff for a touchdown for a second straight week. This time, Montgomery took the ball in the end zone and darted through the Utes before going 100 yards, tying a Stanford record. He finished with three returns for 160 yards.
Cajuste made a diving catch on a fade route to trim the Utah lead to 27-21 with 9:22 remaining, but the Cardinal couldn’t complete the comeback.
“It seems to be that our thing as a team this year is toughness,” Reilly said. “I think that was personified there on the last stand.”
Wilson finished 23 of 34 for 234 yards. He cut his throwing hand on a hard tackle early in the third quarter, but the injury didn’t seem to affect his touch.