Hawkeyes nearly house a punt return to get on the board, but instead they start from the Cardinal 30 and, yet again, move backwards. Cardinal defense with seven sacks on the afternoon, after yet another party in the backfield swallows up C.J. Beathard. Shittu leads with 1.5 sacks, 3.5 total tackles for loss, and 10 tackles; Blake Martinez has nine tackles.
Kodi Whitfield beat on what looked to be a wheel route as Matt Vandeberg catches a 36-yard TD for Iowa's first touchdown of the day. The Hawkeyes dink their extra point off the uprights, and it's just been that type of day for the Big 10 representatives.
Stanford 38, Iowa 9, 13:12 remaining
Hey, at least Christian McCaffrey gets another crack at a kick return – if he comes out of the end zone with it, he'll almost certainly have the 11 yards he needs to set the Rose Bowl record. McCaffrey also two receiving yards away from 100 rushing and 100 receiving yards. First record down as McCaffrey runs for 25. Throw him a quick screen and get him out of here. The team tries, but alas, it's a two-yard run as McCaffrey caught the ball behind Hogan, hence technically a lateral. McCaffrey up the middle for nothing, and then a ten-yard hook to Trent Irwin, first down Cardinal.
McCaffrey in the wildcat, fakes to Bryce Love but loses a yard, and I would get him out of there for the day for injury prevention purposes. But McCaffrey reenters as a decoy receiver instead, and Wright runs for first and goal, even better.
The clock keeps ticking, now under six minutes, and Cardinal have a third and goal at the nine. Time for one last Hogan moment? Instead, Austin Hooper can't fully box out his man, and Hogan's pass is deflected and intercepted by the Hawkeyes.
The pick will be a disappointing final addition to Hogan's stat line, and he looked inaccurate at times much of the day. But Kevin Hogan ran for a touchdown, and was accurate when it counted: he completed several key third downs, and a few big plays in pioneering his team to a 35-0 lead in the Rose Bowl. The night marked his third Rose Bowl, and the result will be his second Rose Bowl victory. A touchdown might have been prettier, but the pick is a more fitting final moment for Kevin Hogan's Stanford career. He was a polarizing player: some would say inconsistent, some would say underappreciated – but after today, what's indisputable is that Kevin Hogan was nothing if not a winner. (And, for the record, that was actually a pretty good throw that saw an Iowa defender make a great play.)
Hawkeyes trying to squeeze in one last touchdown drive, and they do just that with a seven-play, 80-yard drive, as Akrum Wadley catches a 31-yard score. There appeared to be miscommunication in the Stanford backfield, with multiple defenders picking up another receiver and no one left to shut down Wadley. The secondary is talented but young, and they'll have plenty to work on over the offseason. If Stanford hopes to maintain this same level of performance in 2016, the unit will have to turn into a top-10ish unit, to offset inevitable regression on the offensive side of the ball, with Hogan and most of the offensive line in their last game.
Stanford 38, Iowa 16, 2:46 remaining
Speaking of the offensive line, for those who point out all the times that recruiting doesn't matter, well, sometimes it does. The 2012 offensive line was a highly-regarded class – and with a runner-up Heisman running back and three Rose Bowl appearances, fair to say that the unit lived up to expectations. Speaking of that running back, Christian McCaffrey, he catches for eight to become the first player with 100 rushing and 100 receiving yards. Hogan and Michael Rector get to go out champions now, as Hogan hits his senior wideout on a double-move for a 42-yard score. How perfect – like many, I wrote the book on Kevin Hogan a bit too early.
Brent Musberger: "Some of my friends in the desert cheering those last few touchdowns... 61 points now in the Rose Bowl."
Stanford 45, Iowa 16, 1:49 remaining
Iowa runs out the clock, and congratulations to the Hawkeyes for a top-10 caliber season. Congratulations to the Cardinal for their third conference championship under David Shaw, and a top-five caliber season. It's been a pleasure writing all of these blogs here at The Bootleg, and can't wait for next season!
Not so fast -- as Iowa calls a timeout in the Cardinal red zone with 16 seconds left. No one in black and gold is allowed to complain about the Card running up the score. Iowa fumbles, Stanford recovers, and the Card are your Rose Bowl champs.
Stanford 45, Iowa 16, Final
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