It wasn't exactly a lampshade-crazy, toga-party type celebration. The Utes went into the locker room after their 17-10 win over Stanford Saturday afternoon, unleashed a few modest cheers, uttered a few promises, sighed a few relieved sighs and went home. After what happened last week, nobody was planning too far into the future.

Which is an idea they should have had a week ago.Two weeks into the season, the Utes are 1-1 and thankful for it. They opened up last week looking as excitable as a sleeping dog, losing 20-17 to Utah State. This week they they shut out the Cardinal for 51 minutes, then held off a scare in the final period to win. Afterward, nobody shouted "Bring on Nebraska!" Nobody announced "Holiday Bowl, here we come!" Not a single player held up his index finger to give the obligatory "We're No. 1" sign.

It wasn't that kind of win and it hasn't been that kind of season.

After shutting out Stanford for more than three quarters, the Utes were back to looking vulnerable, allowing a touchdown and a field goal before finally running out the clock. Last week's arrogance had been replaced by this week's relief.

"The main thing is you want a win, whether it's ugly or pretty or nasty or sweet," said Utah safety Harold Lusk. "We got a win. That was our main focus this week."

On the livability index, last week's practice sessions rated somewhere between medieval torture and hari kari for the Utes. All things considered, they'd rather have been in Switzerland. Utah coach Ron McBride, whose idea of sensitivity is to call a player by name before yelling at him, was as agreeable as a rhino. You didn't need a restraining order to go to practice, but it helped. The first two days of practice, the most popular piece of equipment was earplugs.McBride could be excused for being on the irritable side. Picked to win the WAC and ranked in many of the preseason polls, this was supposed to be one of the best Utah teams in the school's history. Instead, the Utes lost to Utah State.

The lackluster opener was fairly new territory for McBride. He had lost to teams he shouldn't have in the past, but never had he seen such a lack of emotion. The Utes looked like they were in Logan to watch a driver safety film, not play football.

Toward the end of the week, McBride finally began to cool off, hoping his team heard the wake-up call. Six minutes into Saturday's game he got his answer when Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, who was held to just 49 yards a week earlier, started looking more like his old teeth-busting 1995 form. On his second carry he smashed into three Stanford defenders and gave a headache to another before being stopped on a 10-yard gain. Moments later he bounced off a hit and carried three yards for a touchdown.

For the first time this season the Utes were starting to feel good about themselves.

A touchdown in the second quarter and a field goal in the third quarter gave them a comfortable 17-0 lead. However, that was before the defense allowed Stanford's two scores in the final period. The Utes finished the day looking respectable but not impressive. After three quarters of great defense - in which the Cardinal could muster only 141 offensive yards - they yielded 184 yards in the final period. Not an encore finish, but good enough.

"We've got to win the fourth quarter, like Coach says, but we didn't," said Lusk.

As the evening shadows lengthened and the Utes moved off the field, nobody was complaining. After a week of watching USU's Abu Wilson running through their sleep, a win of any kind was good enough.

"We wanted to be 2-0 at this point but we're not," said McBride. "We're 1-1. It's funny, sometimes you lose to a team you should beat and then it gets you ready for the next game. We needed a wakeup call."

Nevertheless, McBride won't be turning into Mr. Rogers anytime soon. "I don't think he'll be any easier to live with," said Lusk. "He'll just be easier to tolerate."

Thus, two weeks into the season, the Utes remain a project under construction. They lost to a bad team and beat a decent one. Which only proves two things: first, they aren't good enough to beat anyone in their sleep, and second, getting yelled at isn't all that bad, just as long as you win.