On the opening drive the Stanford offense came out and sliced right through the Utah defense. The play calling was creative and balanced. At one point during the drive Stanford went for it on 4th and inches. Rather than a predictable run or sneak up the middle, the Cardinal mixed it up and tossed the ball to McCaffrey who had a big gain. The touchdown followed shortly thereafter.
Unfortunately, The Cardinal abandoned what worked on the opening drive and returned to predictability. The rest of the first quarter and start of the second played out exactly as we expected. Both defenses played well with both teams trading punts and playing the field position game. With about 10 minutes left in the first half the Cardinal appeared to be moving the ball well until a huge fumble killed the drive and provided plenty of momentum. A handful of plays later Wilson ran the ball into the endzone tying the game at 7 with just over 6 minutes left to go in the half. It would be the last time something interesting happened for the rest of regulation.
Almost nothing of any significance happened the rest of the half and the score remained tied at 7 headed into the break.
Utah received the ball first in the second half, and the third quarter was an impressive display of defense but not much else. Stanford seemed content at this point to play field position and test the resolve of Cardinal fans everywhere. The third quarter ended without any points and the score remained tied at 7 headed into the 4th. At this point it felt like the next team to make a mistake would lose.
About half way through the final period Utah punter Hackett pinned the Cardinal deep into their own territory. The drive was almost derailed early on a Stanford fumble, unfortunately for Utah the Cardinal was able to recover. Hogan and the Stanford offense then slowly yet surely worked their way down the field burning precious clock time. The Cardinal drove the ball all the way to the Utah 34 yard line and burned the clock below 2 minutes. The drive stalled, however, and Coach Shaw opted to punt rather than attempt a field goal (the Kicker's previous long was 48) or attempt to convert on 4th down. Considering Stanford Kicker Williamson hit a 51 yarder later in the game, one cannot help but wonder if this was the correct decision.
The ensuing punt pinned the Utes inside their own ten. The Stanford defense took over and stuffed the Utes on both 1st and 2nd down. Stanford burned both of their 2 remaining timeouts to stop the clock. Utah opted to run on 3rd down and were stopped short. Utah was forced to punt from just outside their own endzone with 41 seconds left.
Stanford took over at their own 35 yard line with 34 seconds left in regulation. The first play of the possession Hogan threw a pass to Rector in bounds and not for first down yardage. Stanford had to hurry up and spike the ball. On Third down Hogan took a shot down field to Rector but the pass was broken up. Stanford punted the ball to end the fourth quarter. Zero points were scored in the 2nd half and overtime takes place exclusively in the redzone.
Both teams easily scored touchdowns on their first possession making the score 14 a piece after the first overtime. Stanford started the second overtime period with an abysmal offensive performance forcing a 51 yard field goal attempt. Stanford Kicker Jordan Williamson had a previous long of 48 yards, but he nailed the 51 yarder. Stanford led 17-14. Unfortunately for Stanford, the defense just ran out of steam. Utah had very little problem scoring a touchdown to give Utah the win 20-17 Final.
Both teams Scored more points in 2 overtime possessions than the entire rest of the game. The Stanford defense played their hearts out, but the Cardinal just did not have enough gas left in the tank to pull out the win in overtime.