December 1, 2012 in Sports

Stanford prevails

Cardinal end drought; title first since 1999
Antonio Gonzalez Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Stepfan Taylor, dodging UCLA defenders, rushed for 78 yards to eclipse the Stanford career record. He has 4,212.
(Full-size photo)

STANFORD, Calif. – Kevin Hogan has taken Stanford to a place Andrew Luck never could.

Hogan threw for 155 yards and a touchdown and ran for 47 yards and another score, helping the eighth-ranked Cardinal beat No. 17 UCLA 27-24 in the Pac-12 championship football game Friday night.

The redshirt freshman won game MVP honors as he put Stanford in the Rose Bowl for the first time in more than a decade.

As a defender barreled into him, Hogan hurled a 26-yard tying touchdown pass to Drew Terrell on third-and-15 early in the fourth quarter. Jordan Williamson kicked his second field goal from 36 yards with 6:49 remaining for the go-ahead score to seal Stanford’s first conference championship since the 1999 season.

Many in the sparse crowd announced at 31,622 rushed the field. Players, wearing all-black uniforms, danced on the sideline and confetti flew from a stage erected on the field.

What a way to ring in the post-Luck Era: The Cardinal (11-2) will play the winner of the Big Ten title game between Nebraska and Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

“Character,” said Stanford’s David Shaw, the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in his first two seasons. “Even when we don’t play well, we still play hard. Our guys played with such heart. We made plays when we needed to.”

UCLA’s Brent Hundley threw for 177 yards and a costly interception that set up a Stanford touchdown. He still almost brought the Bruins (9-4) back, but Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 52-yard field goal wide left in the closing moments to seal the loss.

Hogan completed 16 of 22 passes to beat a fourth ranked opponent in his fourth straight start since unseating Josh Nunes at quarterback.

Heavy rain that pounded the Bay Area most of the day relented most of the night, scattered showers still kept the grass slightly slick.

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