- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Stanford and Oregon State played perhaps the most rugged game in the Pac-12 so far this year, but the 14th-ranked Cardinal emerged victorious in the back-and-forth affair, 27-23.
It was over when: Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz was sacked by Alex Debniak for a 12-yard loss on third-and-4 from the Beavers 43 with 2:15 remaining. Not only did it leave the Beavers with a fourth-and-long, Vaz was hurt on the play, and the QB he displaced in the starting lineup, Sean Mannion, was forced into the game at its most pressure-packed moment. Mannion's desperate pass over the middle fell incomplete, and the Cardinal took over and assumed victory formation.
Gameball goes to: Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor rushed for 114 yards on 19 carries with a TD. He eclipsed 1,000 yards for a third consecutive season. He's just the second Cardinal running back -- Darin Nelson -- and 12th Pac-12 player to do that.
Stat of the game: 4-1. That's the turnover numbers, with Stanford giving away four. But Vaz's fourth-quarter fumble on the Beavers 29-yard line -- he lost control of the ball while scrambling without contact -- set up the Cardinal's go-ahead touchdown. That one turnover was the play of the game.
Unsung hero of the game: Making his first start, Stanford QB Kevin Hogan made plays when the Cardinal most needed them, including a 13-yard TD pass to tight end Zach Ertz for the winning points. Hogan completed 22 of 29 passes for 254 yards with three TDs and two interceptions. He also rushed for 49 yards on 11 carries.
What it means: It means Stanford can win the North Division. All it has to win out. Of course, the Cardinal visits Oregon next weekend and ends the season at UCLA. Big tests. But there's a chance. Oregon State will play host to California next weekend before concluding its season at home against Oregon. Both teams, obviously, still have a lot to play for, including a shot at the Rose Bowl.