Behind star running back Stepfan Taylor's two touchdowns and more than 160 yards of total offense, the No. 14 Stanford Cardinal held off the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium in a thrilling conference game.
Despite Stanford's change at quarterback to freshman Kevin Hogan, who threw for 254 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in his first start, it seemed as if the Cardinal would run the Beavers out of town after an early 14-0 lead.
But the Beavers' defense toughened up and the offense produced, as the two units stringed together 23 consecutive points for a 23-14 lead late in the third quarter.
Oregon State was unable to score again, instead allowing two touchdowns, including one on the very last play of the third quarter that shifted the game. Freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan seemed to be swallowed up, but was able to dump the ball off to star running back Stepfan Taylor before hitting the ground. The senior stiff-armed ahead for 40 yards and the score.
Stanford's defense stiffened up as well in the fourth quarter, making life difficult for Beavers quarterback Cody Vaz. The junior quarterback was hit several times in the fourth quarter and was banged up late in the fourth quarter after being sacked on a critical third-and-4. He was unable to return for the following play or the game, because of the apparent injury.
Box Score Hero: Stepfan Taylor's production, especially in the second half, carried the Cardinal to victory. The senior running back rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown in just 19 carries while picking up another touchdown and 47 more yards in the passing game.
Rankings Ramifications: The Cardinal could find themselves just outside the top 10 with a conference win over the No. 11 team in the nation. But they will need some help with losses to teams ahead of them in the rankings. Meanwhile, the Beavers will certainly fall in the rankings, but it shouldn't be anything major with a road loss to a quality conference opponent in Stanford.
But Did They Cover? As 5.5-point favorites to defeat the Beavers, the Cardinal were unable to cover the spread as the team only won by 4.
This story was originally published on SB Nation.com.