For nearly a month, lightly regarded Utah was the sideshow to the expected celebration that would mark Alabama’s return to the Sugar Bowl.
The game itself was a very different story.
The underdog Utes struck a blow for non-BCS teams everywhere, stunning the Crimson Tide like no one in the previous year for a 31-17 victory. The upset gave Utah (13-0) its second unbeaten finish in five years while dealing Alabama (12-2) a sour end to its turnaround season.
“We weren’t ready for them,” Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody said. “They took control of the game and that’s how they set the tempo. I was stunned.”