As Stanford heads north this weekend to take on Oregon State, the stakes seem high. The Cardinal appear to have overcome their slow start and are once again in the AP top 25, currently sitting at No. 21.
Yet as the status of Kevin Hogan remains in doubt and the Beavers look to upset Stanford for their home crowd in Corvallis, it is clear that this game has the potential to be as exciting as a few other Stanford-Oregon State games in recent memory. Here’s a look at the last three matchups between these two teams:
2012: Kevin Hogan, meet the world; world, meet Kevin Hogan
In a year in which the Pac-12 was loaded with talent, Stanford had its hands full with an Oregon State team that was ranked 13th in the nation and an explosive Beaver offense spearheaded by future NFL wideouts Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. For the Cardinal, the ineffectiveness of quarterback Josh Nunes resulted in the starting job going to a redshirt freshman by the name of Kevin Hogan.
Stanford got off to a great start, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter off of a Stepfan Taylor rushing touchdown and a Hogan pass to Ryan Hewitt. However, the Oregon State offense found life later in the game, firing off 23 straight points to put Stanford at a 9-point deficit with three-plus minutes left in the third quarter.
At that point, Hogan took the game into his own hands, leading a 74-yard drive to get Stanford within two. Then, a fumble by Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz resulted in another passing touchdown from Hogan to tight end Zach Ertz. Stanford walked away with an 8-2 record and went on to beat No. 2 Oregon in Eugene the following week.
2013: Tyler Gaffney shoulders the load
While the passing game made all the difference in 2012, the following year was a very different story. The No. 8 Cardinal couldn’t manage to control the game against an unranked Oregon State team that ended up with possession of the ball for 38 minutes and 33 seconds. Although the Stanford defense had trouble getting off the field, it was able to get stops when it needed them most, stopping the Beavers on fourth down on four separate occasions.
On the offensive side, senior running back Tyler Gaffney had one of the finest games of his career, rushing for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns on 22 carries. Hogan threw the ball just 18 times (in comparison to Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion’s 57).
It was an ugly game, but Stanford came out with a win and, in a true repeat of the previous year, came back home the following week to defeat third-ranked Oregon in a thriller.
2014: A bright spot in a dark stretch
Coming off a disappointing performance against Arizona State on the road, Stanford really needed a win when they took on Oregon State on Oct. 25. The Cardinal were playing a game as an unranked team for the first time in almost four years, and their offense looked more inconsistent than it ever had in the last four years.
Luckily for the Cardinal, they were able to secure that win, and quite easily. Stanford won 38-14 behind a three-touchdown day for Hogan, a punt return touchdown for senior Ty Montgomery and a defense that limited Oregon State to 221 total offensive yards.
As much as the win appeared to be a return to normalcy, it didn’t last. Stanford went on to lose consecutive games against Oregon and Utah, the first back-to-back losses for the Cardinal since 2009.