— STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — After the final whistle blew, Stanford coach David Shaw lifted his arms in triumph. His players paraded around the field, and students came down from the stands to surround them from all sides.
So much for a transition year.
The post-Andrew Luck Era sure seems awfully rosy.
Kevin Hogan threw for 155 yards and a touchdown and ran for 47 yards and another score, helping eighth-ranked Stanford beat No. 17 UCLA 27-24 in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night. The redshirt freshman won game MVP honors while leading the Cardinal to the Rose Bowl for the first time in more than a decade.
"The best thing about it, the only people that believed are the guys that are in that locker room," said Shaw, who has won Pac-12 Coach of the Year in his first two seasons since replacing Jim Harbaugh.
"The guys that we recruited, we recruited with those guys in mind. And I've said it a million times: If you can get enough tough, smart, motivated individuals in one locker room that like to win in everything they do, they like to be successful, they push themselves, they push each other, if you've got that kind of a locker room, you can beat anybody."
Hogan's biggest highlight came in the biggest moment of the game.
As a defender barreled into him, Hogan hurled a 26-yard tying touchdown pass to Drew Terrell on third-and-15 early in the fourth quarter. Jordan Williamson kicked his second field goal from 36 yards with 6:49 remaining for the go-ahead score, lifting Stanford to its first conference title since the 1999 season.
Many of the sparse crowd announced at 31,622 rushed the field. Players, wearing their all-black uniforms, danced on the sideline and later carried roses — or stuck them in their mouths — as confetti flew from a stage erected on the field.