After a winning their second straight Pac-12 title -- this one over Arizona State -- Stanford is starting to become mighty familiar with the Rose Bowl.
For a while, this game looked very much like the one these two teams played back in September, with Stanford simply dominating up front and pounding their way to the end zone time and time again.Indeed, it was deja vu on the first four Cardinal drives, as they used 195 first half rushing yards and some remarkably poor special teams play from ASU to build a 28-7 lead.
Human war chariot running back Tyler Gaffney was responsible for three of those scores, and an end-around by Ty Montgomery from 22 yards out would provide the fourth.
It also could have been much worse than that for the Sun Devils, if it were not for D.J. Foster.
In for injured starter Marion Grice at running back, Foster rose to the occasion, accounting for 133 of ASU's 174 first half yards and both of their touchdowns. His second, a 65 yard scamper on a bubble screen, made the score 28-14 heading into the half.
Unfortunately, Foster suffered a knee injury on the first play of the third quarter, and though he came back in for one play on the next drive, it would eventually result in an early end to his night.
And with their most effective weapon out, ASU's comeback attempt fell flat.
The Sun Devils took the second half kickoff with a chance to cut the deficit to seven, but ended up being unable to find any points whatsoever. That drive resulted in a missed field goal by Alex Gonzalez, and Stanford would come back the other way for one of their own, making the score 31-14 with 6:12 to play in the third.
On their next possession, the Sun Devils were once again in position to find some points, but third string running back De'Marieya Nelson was stopped short of the end zone on 4th and goal at the Stanford 1, making it two fruitless ASU drives in a row.
Two plays later and still backed up in his own endzone, Kevin Hogan would hit Devin Cajuste for 78 yards on 3rd and 6, giving Stanford the breathing room it needed. They would not waste it -- Hogan eventually turned to Ty Montgomery for a 24 yard touchdown, and more importantly, he pushed the Cardinal lead up to a very comfortable 38-14. That would prove to be the final 12:11 of game time later, setting off celebrations from those wearing red and white, their fans all over, and the ones who had made the trek to Tempe.
Box Score Hero: Tyler Gaffney will draw most of the attention for his three touchdowns, but Kevin Hogan's coolly efficient performance -- 12-of-18 passing for 277 yards -- earns him an appearance in this space.
D.J. Foster was one of the few highlights for the Sun Devils before leaving.
Rankings Ramifications: The Cardinal will move up at least two spots, thanks to Missouri's and Oklahoma State's losses.
But Did They Cover? ASU was a three point home favorite.
Next Week's Schedule: The regular season is over for both teams. Stanford is heading to the Rose Bowl.