Stanford vs. UCLA: Cardinal Win Proves Future Is Bright for Kevin Hogan

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IDecember 1, 2012

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Kevin Hogan #8 of the Stanford Cardinal passes the ball against the UCLA Bruins during the Pac-12 Championship game at Stanford Stadium on November 30, 2012 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After the Andrew Luck era, it won't be easy for any Stanford quarterback to live up to those expectations, but Kevin Hogan has certainly proven he has the ability to at least come close.

Hogan led the Cardinal to victory over the UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 championship, 27-24. In what was the most important game of his young career, Hogan looked like he had been playing in big games his entire life.

The Stanford quarterback was 16-for-22 with 153 yards and a touchdown. Showing great athleticism, Hogan also carried the ball 11 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. While those numbers aren't gaudy by any means, Hogan's efficiency was nothing short of outstanding.

Most importantly, Hogan didn't turn the ball over once and it comes as no surprise that coincided with a victory for Stanford. Turning the ball over against good teams is a recipe for disaster, but Hogan avoided that mess by making some great decisions on the field.

Stanford was down going into the fourth quarter, but Hogan made sure that didn't last long. He immediately stepped up and made the necessary plays to put his team over the top, throwing a touchdown pass to tie the game at 24.

Hogan would later go on to be named the Pac-12 championship MVP after the game, adding an impressive piece to his still developing resume.

It's been an incredible run for Hogan, who started off the season on the bench. It wasn't until November 3 when the Stanford quarterback got his chance to play full time, and since then, he's made the most of it.

Hogan has shown he has great accuracy for a freshman signal-caller and that he has the ability to make all the throws. Sure, he isn't perfect yet, but the upside is certainly there to improve on his game moving forward.

The freshman quarterback hasn't completed less than 68 percent of his passes in any game this season, and Hogan completed an astounding 72 percent of his passes in the biggest game of his life.

On top of that, Hogan is also an athletic quarterback who is always a danger to break out of the pocket and bust one for a solid gain. That type of skill will help Hogan extend plays when most quarterbacks would be lying face first in the grass thanks to a sack.

The future is incredibly bright for Hogan. If he is putting up these kinds of numbers and impressing as a freshman, one can only imagine how good Hogan will eventually get when he has more experience under his belt.

With Stanford set to play in the Rose Bowl, that will be even more valuable experience for the young quarterback. When the 2012 season is all said and done, Hogan will have a ton of experience under his belt after only six games in college football.

That will go a long way in helping Hogan to continue to develop as a quarterback and in turn, Hogan will help keep Stanford at the top of the college football world for years to come.