PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — When Kevin Hogan led Stanford onto the hallowed Rose Bowl turf for the fourth time in three years, the quarterback realized the stakes were a whole lot higher for No. 9 UCLA, which could clinch the Pac-12 South with a victory.
Hogan and the Cardinal were only playing for fun — and the two-time defending conference champions had a boatload of it while ruining the Bruins’ season yet again.
Hogan passed for 234 yards and two touchdowns, and Stanford crushed UCLA’s hopes for the division title and a College Football Playoff spot with a 31-10 victory Friday.
“We knew that this meant a lot to them, but we wanted to come out and get a win for our seniors, for our team,” Hogan said. “We haven’t lost to them since we’ve been here, and we wanted to keep that streak going.”
Devon Cajuste and Michael Rector caught scoring passes for the Cardinal (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) as the two-time defending conference champions salvaged some satisfaction from a down season by trouncing the Bruins (9-3, 6-3) for the seventh consecutive time.
“I’d say it’s the best game that everyone has played all year,” Cajuste said. “There was finally a time when Stanford played all four quarters in all three phases of the game, so it’s great to see an improvement not just from Hogan, but everyone else.”
With Hogan’s dynamite 16-for-19 performance and two rushing TDs from Remound Wright, Stanford snatched the South title away from UCLA and handed it to Arizona, a 42-35 winner over Arizona State on Friday.
“We had higher expectations than that,” Brett Hundley said. “To put a performance together like that, it’s shocking.”
Hundley passed for 146 yards in likely his final home game for the Bruins, losing a matchup with Hogan for the fourth time in three years. While Hogan starred, Hundley endured the third-worst passing game of his 39 career starts before finishing on the sideline with an injured throwing hand.
Just six days after a blowout win over rival Southern California, UCLA retained none of that momentum or passion in its third home loss of the season. The Bruins’ latest flop in a big game ended their five-game winning streak, which had given them an outside shot at the four-team playoff after a slow start.
“The reward we would have got for winning this game, it hurts,” UCLA linebacker Myles Jack said. “We were aware of what was to come if we handled our business, but it didn’t happen that way.”
After an up-and-down season, an inspired Hogan made sure the Cardinal didn’t miss top receiver Ty Montgomery, who sat out with a shoulder injury. Hogan completed his first 12 passes, scrambled for key yards and showed poise in the pocket, particularly in avoiding a sack before uncorking a 37-yard TD throw to Cajuste 41 seconds before halftime to cap a 92-yard drive.
The Cardinal are comfortable in Pasadena after playing here on the last two New Year’s Days, and Hogan sparked the Pac-12’s lowest-scoring offense to a dominant, clock-chewing performance that measured up with Stanford’s best efforts during its current renaissance.
“Forget about what’s happened in the past: This game was indicative of how we want to play,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “Hopefully, we will carry this on into the bowl game.”
After joining UCLA’s seniors for a pregame ceremony, Hundley said farewell to the Rose Bowl with a tentative, ineffectual effort, getting sacked four times while the Bruins were shut out for the final 41 minutes. Backup Jerry Neuheisel finished the game after Hundley got hurt and left with UCLA on the Stanford goal line midway through the fourth quarter.
Coach Jim Mora’s defense also rarely slowed down the Cardinal’s deliberate offense, which outgained UCLA 436-262 and had the ball for nearly 38 minutes.
For all his success in a three-year revival of the UCLA program, Mora still hasn’t beaten Stanford or Oregon.
“We have to figure out a way to close the gap,” Mora said. “I thought we had closed the gap, but we still have work to do.”
Hundley hit Thomas Duarte with a sharp TD throw to cap a strong opening drive on a beautiful 80-degree day in Arroyo Seco, but the Cardinal answered with two 75-yard scoring drives capped by Wright’s TD dive and Rector’s sliding catch of an impressive 22-yard TD throw by Hogan.
Hogan capped his magnificent half with his TD throw to Cajuste, going 14 for 15 for 189 yards and two TDs before halftime.