Kevin Hogan, former Gonzaga star, leads Stanford to Rose Bowl

December 31, 2013

Remember this guy? (Matt York/Associated Press)

Not too long ago, Stanford starting quarterback Kevin Hogan was flying around the fields of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, picking apart D.C.-area defenses, rather than some of the best in the NCAA.

The former Gonzaga star made a name for himself with a strong, accurate arm and a fearless and effective running style that helped him accumulate 1,820 yards and 14 touchdowns passing and 399 yards and six touchdowns rushing in his first-team All-Met senior season.

Then Hogan traded his purple and white No. 15 jersey for the Cardinal red No. 8, chants of “God is Purple” for “Fear the Tree,” and some of the nation’s top high school competition for elite collegiate opponents. As he leads the Cardinal to its third-straight Rose Bowl Wednesday — his second as a starter — it’s safe to say the transition’s been a smooth one.

Hogan’s numbers haven’t been mind-blowing at the helm of a Cardinal offense known for a rarely abandoned willingness to pound opponents into fatigue with a powerful and consistent running game. But since he took over as Stanford’s quarterback in a game against Pac-12 foe Washington State last season, Hogan’s results have been, well, spectacular. Save surprising losses to Utah and USC this season, Hogan has beaten then-national title hopeful Oregon twice, won two Pac-12 championships, and has a chance to win consecutive Rose Bowls.

The 6-4, 228-pounder’s numbers aren’t terrible either. With efficiency, rather than flash, he’s thrown for 2,487 yards and 20 touchdowns, running for 314 and two additional scores. He was the Pac-12 championship game MVP last season, and stepped into the shoes of some guy named Andrew Luck, filling them well enough to lead the Cardinal to something his predecessor never could: a Rose Bowl title. He’ll have a chance to make it two when the Cardinal plays No. 4 Michigan State Wednesday afternoon in Pasadena.

Check out the full bowl schedule here.

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Brandon Parker | December 31, 2013