Pac-12 Championship: Stanford wins rematch with UCLA, heads to Rose Bowl
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 game Friday night. The redshirt freshman won game MVP honors to 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 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 title since the 1999 season.
Many of the sparse crowd announced at 31,622 rushed the field. Players, wearing their 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 make plays."
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 for a disappointing loss.
Hogan completed 16 of 22 passes to beat a fourth-ranked opponent in his fourth straight start since unseating Josh Nunes at quarterback. After the Cardinal rolled past UCLA 35-17 last Saturday at the Rose Bowl, it took all 60 minutes for another victory in the rare rematch.
The heavy rain that pounded the Bay Area most of the day relented most of the night, and a tarp that covered the field until about 3 hours before kickoff. Scattered showers still kept the grass slightly slick.
The surface never seemed to slow down the Bruins, who ran for 284 yards behind Jonathan Franklin 194 yards on the ground. The most yards rushing Stanford allowed this season had been 198 in an overtime victory at Oregon two weeks ago.
The Cardinal won their seventh straight game to advance to their third different BCS bowl in as many seasons a run that began behind coach Jim Harbaugh and Luck, the No. 1 overall pick of the Indianapolis Colts. Before that, the Cardinal had won 10 games only three times 1992, 1940, 1926 in program history.
The Bruins made the final road block more difficult than expected.