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 Pacific-12 Conference 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 a third-and-15 play early in the fourth quarter.
Jordan Williamson kicked a field goal, his second of the game, from 36 yards with 6 minutes, 49 seconds remaining for the go-ahead score to seal Stanford’s first conference title since the 1999 season.
Many in the sparse crowd announced at 31,622 rushed the field. Stanford 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 today 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.
Hogan completed 16 of 22 passes to beat a ranked opponent for the fourth time in his fourth consecutive 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 to earn another victory in the rare rematch.
The heavy rain that pounded the Bay Area most of the day relented most of the game, and a tarp protected the field until about 3 hours before kickoff. Scattered showers kept the grass slightly slick.
The surface never seemed to slow down the Bruins, who ran for 284 yards behind Jonathan Franklin’s 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 its seventh game in a row (Stanford lost at Washington on Sept. 27 and at Notre Dame on Oct. 13) to advance to its 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 NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Before that, the Cardinal had won 10 games only three times — 1992, 1940, 1926 — in program history.
Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor finished with 78 yards rushing to eclipse Darrin Nelson’s school career rushing record of 4,169. Taylor, an outgoing senior, has 4,212 for his career.
Stanford has won five in a row against the Bruins. UCLA was going for its first conference championship since 1998 and will wait to see which bowl extends an invitation to the Bruins.
Representatives from the Rose, Alamo, Holiday and Kraft Fight Hunger bowls attended the game.
The crowd was the smallest at 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium since the Cardinal drew 30,626 against Sacramento State on Sept. 4, 2010.