A Milestone Season

A PAC-12 title and a third straight BCS bowl mark a record-breaking year.

January/February 2013

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A Milestone Season

Photo: Don Feria/

Winning is hard; winning repeatedly is herculean. But that's the new standard established by the Stanford football program.

For the third straight year, the Cardinal went to an elite BCS bowl game—this time the much-loved New Year's Day Rose Bowl (vs. Wisconsin). And Stanford got there in stunning fashion, fueled by a late-season change at quarterback and an overtime road upset of No. 1 Oregon, 17-14. After beating UCLA in the final regular-season game to clinch the Pac-12 North title, the Cardinal defeated the Bruins again, 27-24, in the conference championship playoff, raising its record to 11-2 and earning a fourth straight bowl berth (Sun Bowl 2009, Orange Bowl 2010 and Fiesta Bowl 2011).

The bouquets— roses only, please—should go to a host of contributors:

1: Senior running back Stepfan Taylor went into the record books as Stanford's all-time leading rusher, overtaking Darrin Nelson, '82. The noise in the locker room following the Pac-12 title victory included teammates chanting "S-T, S-T."

2: Redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan, who re-placed Josh Nunes as starter beginning with the November 10 Oregon State game, was named most valuable player in the rematch with UCLA. He completed 16 of 22 passes, highlighted by a 26-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Drew Terrell to tie the game, 24-24.

3: Junior kicker Jordan Williamson, who drilled a 37-yard field goal to decide the Oregon game, was on target with a 36-yard boot for the winning points with 6:40 left in the show-down with UCLA. See 1,000 Words.

4: The Stanford defense, whose long list of standouts included senior linebacker Chase Thomas and redshirt sophomore safety Ed Reynolds, boasted the nation's third-ranked rushing defense heading into the Rose Bowl.

5: David Shaw became only the fourth coach in conference history to be named coach of the year in consecutive seasons, which also were his first as head coach.

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