STANFORD, Calif. >> Kevin Hogan threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, Ty Montgomery returned a punt for a score and Stanford’s sporadic offense busted out of its slump in a 38-14 rout of Oregon State on Saturday.
The Cardinal (5-3, 3-2 Pacific 12) controlled the game from start to finish, showing more diverse looks that they have all season — just like coach David Shaw had promised after a perplexing 26-10 loss at Arizona State last week took Stanford out of The Associated Press poll for the first time in four years.
Stanford still had its share of mistakes: Hogan tossed two interceptions, Ben Rhyne had a punt blocked and Jordan Williamson made one of two short field goals.
But the victory kept the Cardinal in control of winning a third straight Pac-12 title.
Stanford plays at No. 6 Oregon on Nov. 1, and the winner will move into first place in the league’s North Division.
Oregon State (4-3, 1-3) is all but out of the race to make the conference championship game now. Sean Mannion and the Beavers struggled to move the ball against the conference’s top-ranked defense, scoring one TD after an interception and another against second-stringers with the game decided.
The Cardinal outgained Oregon State 438 to 221 yards and dominated on both sides.
Hogan completed 18 of 28 passes for 277 yards. Stanford’s running-back-by committee approach racked up 151 yards rushing, including a 1-yard TD run by fullback Patrick Skov.
Mannion threw for 122 yards and was sacked six times. Oregon State had 12 yards rushing.
The Cardinal’s captivating performance brings a lot more intrigue into next week’s matchup in Eugene. Stanford has beaten Oregon the past two years on the way to Pac-12 titles and Rose Bowl berths, but the Cardinal have looked far from those juggernauts of the past for most of this season.
Stanford improved to 10-0 following a loss under Shaw. The Cardinal haven’t dropped consecutive games since October 2009.
Shaw shouldered the blame for his offense’s season-long struggles after the loss at Arizona State last week and said he’d take strong measures to get the problems fixed. He did just that, practically abandoning Stanford’s smashmouth style and mixing in a no-huddle offense, read-option runs and spread-style passing attack to get the team’s best playmakers more involved.
Hogan threw touchdowns of 42 yards to freshman Christian McCaffrey and 37 yards to Jordan Pratt in the first half. He also kept a read-option and ran 37 yards for a touchdown, stiffing-arming a defender to the ground to finish the longest and arguably most impressive run of his career.
The redshirt junior still provided some head-scratching moments. His second interception was picked off by Michael Doctor and returned to the Stanford 5, setting up Chris Brown’s TD run.
The Cardinal overcame those mistakes to carry a 28-7 lead into the half and put the game away early in the third quarter behind Montgomery’s latest highlight. The All-American kickoff returner patiently waited for blocks and zig-zagged through a wall of defenders for a 50-yard punt return — his second this season — to give Stanford a 35-7 lead.
Damien Haskins ran for a 1-yard TD run in the final minutes for Oregon State’s only other score.