Hogan leads No. 7 Stanford into Pac-12 title game
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Ever since taking over as Stanford's starting quarterback the year after Andrew Luck left for the NFL, all Kevin Hogan has done is win games.
One more victory for the seventh-ranked Cardinal (10-2) in the Pac-12 championship game and Hogan will either be the starting quarterback for his team in the Rose Bowl for the third time or leading Stanford into the College Football Playoff.
While Hogan may lack the high-end, professional potential of former Stanford greats like Luck, John Elway and Jim Plunkett who went on to be No. 1 overall draft picks after their college careers, his production and winning stands up to any of his predecessors.
Hogan has the most wins of any Stanford starting quarterback with 34, and ranks fourth in yards passing (9,018), second in completion percentage (66 percent), second in rating (153.4) and fourth in TD passes (71).
But with a conference title game Saturday against No. 24 Southern California followed by a bowl game or playoff berth, Hogan is not ready to reflect on his career.
''There's so much going on in the next week and whatever the chips may fall after that, you can't really pause and think back yet,'' he said. ''I love the guys and all our focus is on the next one, as it should be.''
Hogan is coming off perhaps his signature performance in his final home game. He went 17 for 21 for 269 yards and four touchdown passes in a 38-36 win over Notre Dame. Hogan also threw the 27-yard pass to Devon Cajuste that helped Stanford rally after allowing the go-ahead score with 30 seconds to win it on Conrad Ukropina's 45-yard field goal on the final play.
''This was definitely up there,'' Hogan said. ''Definitely top three moments.''
It hasn't always been easy for Hogan, who won the starting job from Josh Nunes midway through his redshirt freshman season in 2012. After taking the Cardinal to the Rose Bowl that season and the next, Hogan endured a difficult junior campaign.
With his father, Jerry, dying of colon cancer, Hogan had his least productive season as the Cardinal lost five games and he played particularly poorly in losses to Notre Dame, Arizona State and Utah.
But after a late-season trip home to visit his father before he died last December, Hogan finished the season with three strong performances and has carried it over to his final season with the Cardinal.
''He has got some scars,'' coach David Shaw said. ''I think scars are good. They help you learn. He speaks from a position of experience and the guys listen to him. He doesn't have to yell and scream. When he talks, guys listen because he's been around, he's seen it, he's done it and he's out there fighting and scrapping with the rest of them.''
Shaw credited Hogan's maturity for much of his success this season. He said the difficulties on and off the field in 2014 have added even more depth to Hogan's personality.
That has helped him become an even bigger leader. Hogan is credited by his teammates for rallying the squad after a lackluster season-opening loss at Northwestern. The Cardinal have won 10 of 11 games since that point, scoring at least 30 in every contest.
''To see the way he approaches games and his calm demeanor and his smooth confidence, he's a stud,'' said safety Dallas Lloyd, who began his career as one of Hogan's backups at quarterback. ''I know whatever he does, he's not about himself. He's always been a person who's about the greater good and everyone else. We love him. In my opinion, he's the best leader I've ever been around.''