Taylor became the first back in Stanford history over 1,000 yards rushing three years in a row. (US Presswire)
STANFORD WON. The Cardinal overcame four turnovers and a nine-point deficit in the second half, rallying for two late touchdowns to keep their Pac-12 North ambitions alive. After falling behind 14-0 early, Oregon State ripped off 23 consecutive points in the second and third quarters, but couldn't hold off Stanford down the stretch.
HOW STANFORD WON: Two interceptions notwithstanding, the Cardinal got the spark they were looking for from redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan, who punctuated his first career start with three touchdown passes to three different receivers. The third, a 13-yard strike to tight end Zach Ertz following an OSU fumble (see below), put Stanford up for good with just over five minutes to play.
As usual, though, the star of the show offensively was Cardinal tailback Stepfan Taylor, who churned out 114 yards on the ground, added 47 more as a receiver, scored two touchdowns and became the first player in school history over 1,000 yards rushing in three consecutive seasons.
WHEN STANFORD WON: Oregon State won the turnover battle, 4 to 1, but the Beavers' only giveaway was by far the most costly: Leading 23-21 with a little under nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Beavers quarterback Cody Vaz lost the ball on a scramble at his own 29-yard line. Six plays later, Hogan hit Ertz for the go-ahead score, and OSU failed to cross to midfield on either of its last two opportunities with the ball.
WHAT STANFORD WON: At 6-1 in conference play, the Cardinal will go to Oregon next week with the North Division and a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game very much within their grasp. An upset in Eugene would put Stanford on the fast track to its third consecutive BCS game – this one without Andrew Luck.
WHAT OREGON STATE LOST: The stakes were the same for the Beavers, who are now reduced to playing the spoiler role when Oregon comes to Corvallis on Nov. 24. Even with an upset over its cross-state rival, the best OSU can hope for in the postseason pecking order is probably the Alamo Bowl.