STANFORD (AP) — Kevin Hogan walked into Stanford quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford’s office Sunday — a day off for players — to get his week started a little earlier.
After winning his first 10 starts, including the Pac-12 title game and the Rose Bowl last season, Hogan had never felt the sting he did after the Cardinal lost 27-21 at Utah on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore quarterback just didn’t want to wait until Monday to begin correcting his mistakes.
“He definitely felt the loss,” Sanford said. “I don’t think that there’s a guy that’s more competitive that I’ve been around internally. He’s his harshest critic.”
As Hogan has gone the past year, so has Stanford’s offense.
The quarterback sparked Stanford’s surge late last season when he supplanted Josh Nunes and started this year even stronger, showing off a new deep passing game that led to four blowout victories. But Hogan has been inconsistent the last two weeks in a close win over Washington and the loss at Utah. He’s looked more like a player who has been the starter for less than a calendar year than one who last season took Stanford to a place Andrew Luck never could.
Hogan will get the chance to respond from his first setback when No. 13 Stanford (5-1, 3-1) hosts No. 9 UCLA (5-0, 2-0) on Saturday in a rematch of last season’s Pac-12 championship game.
“I put as much as I can on myself,” Hogan said. “That’s my job is to get us in the right play, get us in the right protection, make sure the guys are in the right place, make sure everybody knows what they’re doing.”
The way Hogan finished against Utah highlighted his inconsistencies.
Hogan completed his first five passes for 73 yards on Stanford’s final drive, including a 10-yard strike to Ty Montgomery between three defenders on a third down. But with Stanford facing third-and-2 from Utah’s 6-yard line, Hogan threw two incompletions under heavy pressure to hand Utah the win.
“In Game 20, he’s going to be a superstar,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “He’s still building and growing and learning. And he’s capable of making unbelievable plays, as he has just about every game — a big play.”
Adjustments could be key come Saturday. No team has faced Hogan more than UCLA.
Hogan helped the Cardinal beat the Bruins twice in a six-day span last season for the Pac-12 title. He was 15 for 22 for 160 yards and a touchdown in Stanford’s 35-17 win over UCLA in the regular-season finale, and he finished 16 of 22 for 155 yards and a TD in a 27-24 victory against the Bruins in the conference championship game.