The Stanford Cardinal have completed a magical run to finish the year 11-2 as champions of the Pac-12. They are headed to the Rose Bowl to take on the winner of the Big Ten championship between the Nebraska Huskers and Wisconsin Badgers.
The win was their fourth in less than three weeks over a Top 16 team in the BCS rankings. While a lot can be contributed to the success of the Cardinal over this 20-day span, there has been one constant: the emergence of freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan.
Hogan saw his first legitimate action on September 3 against the Colorado Buffaloes and has not looked back since.
Many people may not know too much about Hogan, but over the next few years he will become a household name, not only in the Pac-12, but across the entire country.
During his five games as the starter, Hogan has thrown for eight touchdowns with only three interceptions.
He has been in complete control in each game he has played and is a huge reason behind the success of the Cardinal in the final month of the 2012 season. He passed for 962 yards over that five-game span and helped to steady a Stanford offense that had struggled in the weeks before he took over the starting role.
In the three games before he took over, the Stanford offense had not scored more than 24 points. Since that time, the group has been averaging 31 points a night.
While his passing talents have been well documented, Hogan can also buy time with his feet. While he might not look like the most athletic quarterback, at 6'4" and 224 pounds, he can elude pass rushers with uncommon regularity.
There is no question that he will certainly be the Stanford starter for years to come, but just how good can this guy be?
It is evident right now that he is a winner. He is not afraid of the moment.
That is something that cannot be said for a lot of freshmen quarterbacks seeing their first collegiate action.
Hogan seems to have what it takes to be successful at the college level. He is eerily reminiscent of Andrew Luck. He will definitely never be on that same level, but as he continues to grow, Cardinal fans might be able to forget about Luck sooner than they thought possible.
Thanks in large part to their freshman quarterback, the next step for Hogan and the Cardinal is Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.