Uploaded: Saturday, November 10, 2012, 5:11 PM
Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012, 2:50 PM
Hogan, Taylor help keep Stanford on title track
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|By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Kevin Hogan's best decision led to another big win for the Stanford football team and a shot at reaching the Pac-12 title game.
Hogan threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate start in helping No. 14 Stanford rally past No. 15 Oregon State, 27-23, on Saturday, its eighth straight win at home and the 19th in 20 overall.
The Cardinal get a chance to grab the inside track to the North Division title when it travels to Eugene to take on top-ranked Oregon at 5 p.m. Saturday.
"I'm happy that we got the win," said Hogan, a redshirt freshman. "Some incompletions here and there, the interceptions, obviously, you want to protect the ball at all times."
The Stanford seniors leave with a four-year home record of 24-2, dating to 2009.
"For them to lose two games at home the last four years, that's special," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "They deserve some kudos."
The Cardinal found itself behind, 23-14, when, on the final play of the third quarter, Hogan avoided a sack and then somehow managed to get the ball to Stepfan Taylor, who picked his way through the Beavers' defense to complete the 40-yard touchdown pass that energized Stanford.
"He's a good athlete and he hurt us with the bootlegs and scrambles. That was a great play he made getting the ball to Taylor late on a check down, probably the play of the game. We were up two scores and he finds him just before he went down. That changed the momentum."
Shaw was in complete agreement.
"Kevin gets hit but doesn't go down," Shaw said. "Out of the corner of his eye he sees Stepfan and checks down to him. That was a huge play because you avoid negative yardage, you avoid the sack and then you let a runner do what he does. It was the play of the day."
The Cardinal (6-1, 8-2) hopes to keep the momentum going this week when it faces a showdown with host Oregon on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Hogan was 22-of-29 passing, and he did throw two interceptions, but made up for it with 49 rushing yards and the three touchdowns.
Zach Ertz caught nine passes for 75 yards and a touchdown and Ryan Hewitt caught four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.
"That's not characteristic of our offense," Ertz said. "All those turnovers . . ."
Taylor rushed for 114 yards on 19 carries, breaking the 1,000-yard barrier for the season. He's rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three successive seasons, a first for Stanford.
"You want to win your last home game," Taylor said. "You owe it to your teammates, especially the seniors. You go through the whole season and you don't want this last one to get away."
Cody Vaz fumbled late in the fourth quarter to give the Cardinal the ball at the Beavers' 29. The only Oregon State (7-2, 5-2) turnover turned out to be the difference. Stanford turned the ball over four times and still managed to grab the victory.
Hogan hooked up with Ertz for a 13-yard touchdown for the go-ahead score with just over five minutes remaining to play.
Stanford has won eight games in each of the past four seasons, the first time that has occurred since Pop Warner won eightor more in five consecutive seasons between 1926-30.
Oregon State won the turnover margin but only converted three points out of them.
Vaz fumbled while shifting the ball during a scramble and Stanford's Josh Mauro recovered. After Ertz caught the go-ahead touchdown, Oregon State got the ball back and Alex Debniak sacked Vaz on third down.
The quarterback left with an ankle injury, and Sean Mannion, the former starter, threw incomplete on fourth-and-16 from the Oregon State 37 with 1:52 left.
After Ertz fumbled on Stanford's opening possession, the defense stopped Oregon State three-and-out. Hogan then led a 13-play, 93-yard scoring drive, longest of the season, capped by Taylor's 1-yard touchdown run.
Hogan kept the momentum going, rolling to his right and hitting Hewitt on a play-action pass. Hewitt sliced back inside and bulldozed through a defender for a 12-yard TD that gave Stanford a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
The Beavers rushed back, scoring five times -- three field goals and two touchdowns -- before Hogan and Taylor jump-started the offense.
In the final minutes of the first half, Taylor was stripped of the ball, ending a streak of 262 rushes for Taylor without a fumble.
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