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Dr. Saturday

Stanford dominates Arizona State to win Pac-12 and return to the Rose Bowl

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday

Arizona State had won eight of nine games since its only league loss came at Stanford on Sept. 21. When a rematch presented itself in the Pac-12 title game, it was supposed to be different this time around for the Sun Devils – especially in front of the home crowd at Sun Devil Stadium.

Someone forgot to tell Stanford.

The Cardinal was dominant on both sides of the football, racking up 517 total yards of offense while the defense limited the Sun Devils' offense to just 4.5 yards per play en route to an easy 38-14 victory and a trip to the Rose Bowl for the second straight year.

Tyler Gaffney was dominant early, scoring three first-half touchdowns before ending the night with 133 yards on 22 carries. Despite attempting only 18 passes (and completing 12), Kevin Hogan threw for 277 yards and was extremely sharp in one of his more impressive performances of the season.

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Tyler Gaffney torched Arizona State for three touchdowns (USA Today Sports)

Just like the first meeting between the teams, Stanford jumped out to an early lead that reached 28-7 in the second quarter. Gaffney got the scoring started on a 69-yard scamper on the Cardinal’s second offense play.

The Stanford defense forced three consecutive three-and-outs from ASU before Taylor Kelly found D.J. Foster on a quick screen which Foster broke for a 65-yard touchdown to bring the score to 28-14. The Stanford defense again clamped down in the third quarter, forcing a field goal miss and stuffing ASU at the goal line after a 17-play, 74-yard drive that ate up over six minutes of game time.

After taking over at the 1-yard line, Stanford needed just 2:58 to march 99 yards to put the game away on a 24-yard Hogan-to-Ty Montgomery touchdown pass.

Arizona State, which averaged 43.3 points per game during the regular season, could never get into a rhythm offensively and was shut out in the second half. Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov was making plays all over the field, including timing his leap and the snap count perfectly to stuff an ASU run attempt on that third-quarter goal-line stand.

The Sun Devils had been undefeated at home (7-0) coming into the game. The stellar play of the Stanford defense, coupled with the quick start from the Cardinal offense, just did not allow the Arizona State crowd to get into the game. Now, the Cardinal have the chance to repeat as Rose Bowl champions because of it.

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