Hogan has turned Stanford offense around

December, 31, 2012
12/31/12
1:02
PM ET

Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesKevin Hogan has made a huge impact for Stanford.

Kevin Hogan took over for a struggling Josh Nunes early in Stanford’s Week 10 game against Colorado.

From that point forward, Stanford’s offense was transformed. The Cardinal won their final five games, including four against ranked opponents, by an average margin of more than 15 points per game.

Hogan was at the center of their turnaround, outperforming former starter Nunes in the red zone, on third down and against the blitz.

Hogan showed the ability to make plays with his arm and his legs. He’s attempted 24 percent of his passes from outside of the pocket and has thrown five of his nine touchdown passes when on the move.

He’s also scrambled for 150 yards and one touchdown when forced out of the pocket. That is more than twice as many scramble yards as Nunes had in Stanford’s first eight games (73).

Hogan’s athleticism and accuracy elicit thoughts of former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Like Luck, Hogan has also found a connection with his tight ends. Stanford tight ends have combined for 527 receiving yards and five touchdowns while catching 78 percent of the passes thrown to them in their last five games, primarily with Hogan under center. In their first eight games, they had six combined touchdowns and caught 47 percent of their targets.

Hogan has been at his best with two or more tight ends in the formation. He has completed 22 of 27 pass attempts when Stanford lines up with this personnel, including 19 of 22 passes when targeting a tight end. Since the start of the 2011 season, Stanford has thrown 24 touchdowns and no interceptions in 165 pass attempts out of two tight-end sets.

After an extra month of practice, Stanford fans are hoping for an even greater improvement from Hogan. But, as Brad Edwards notes here, freshmen often struggle after the long layoff.

Whether or not Hogan leads the Cardinal to their first Rose Bowl victory since 1972, Stanford appears to have found its quarterback of the future and replacement for Luck.

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