Car­di­nal rev­el­ing in fa­mil­iar game

No. 5 Stan­ford vs. No. 6 Iowa, 3 p. m. on ESPN

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Greg Beacham

pasadena, calif. » Kevin Ho­gan will make a bit of Rose Bowl history when he steps be­hind cen­ter Fri­day for his record- ty­ing third start for Stan­ford in the “Grand­daddy of Them All.”

It’s all new to his Iowa coun­ter­part, C. J. Beathard, whow­ill make his first bowl start in the Hawkeyes’ first trip to Pasadena in 25 years.

Ho­gan is grate­ful for Stan­ford’s re­mark­able run of three Rose Bowl berths, but he doesn’t think the No. 5 Car­di­nal ( 11- 2) has much of an ad­van­tage over the six­thranked Hawkeyes ( 12- 1) in the 102nd edi­tion of col­lege foot­ball’s most his­toric game.

Th­ese teams are too tal­ented, and there’s too much on the line — even if the na­tional ti­tle is not.

“Both of us could be in the play­off,” said Ho­gan, whow­ill be­come just the third quar­ter­back to start three Rose Bowls. “Both of us could be play­ing for a na­tional cham­pi­onship, but there’s not enough room for us, and we did that to our­selves. We’re go­ing to enjoy this op­por­tu­nity in­stead.”

The Rose Bowl is the tra­di­tional re­ward for out­stand­ing sea­sons in the Big Ten and Pac- 12, and tra­di­tion should run rich in this matchup: two run- ori­ented of­fenses, two no- non­sense de­fenses and a list of stars led by run­ning back Chris­tian McCaf­frey, Stan­ford’s Heis­man Tro­phy run­ner- up.

Iowa and Stan­ford grate­fully em­braced this as­sign­ment af­ter they ended up as the last two teams to miss the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off.

“It’s such a his­toric bowl, and I can’t imag­ine there’s a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment in Amer­ica to play col­lege foot­ball,” said Iowa’s Kirk Fer­entz, who fi­nally led the Hawkeyes to the Rose Bowl af­ter 17 years as head coach. “But it’s still a game.”

The Hawkeyes re­turned on the strength of their school- record 12- 0 reg­u­lar sea­son. Even af­ter a nar­row loss to Michi­gan State in the Big Ten ti­tle game, Iowa got the chance to win the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1959 game af­ter los­ing its last three ap­pear­ances un­der Hay­den Fry.

“The only right way to end the sea­son would be to go out with a win,” Beathard said. “( If) you start 12- 0 and lose your last two games, that’s tough.”

Stan­ford’s im­prob­a­ble Nerd Na­tion pow­er­house is back yet again af­ter the Car­di­nal won an­other Pac- 12 ti­tle, bowl­ing over schools with big­ger bud­gets and less strin­gent aca­demic de­mands. Ho­gan is grate­ful for his place in history, but he is only in­ter­ested in end­ing his ca­reer by join­ing the list of two- time Rose Bowl cham­pi­ons.

“We had a couple of losses, but a win in the Rose Bowl is the best way you can go out,” he said.

Stan­ford’s ex­pe­ri­ence won’t trans­late into Rose Bowl fatigue, Ho­gan promised. The Car­di­nal’s cur­rent up­per­class­men beat Wis­con­sin in their first trip in 2013, but they lost to Michi­gan State two years ago, stok­ing a mo­ti­va­tional fire.

“We felt like we didn’t do our best that year, and it left a hor­ri­ble feel­ing,” Ho­gan said. “We’re just as ex­cited to come down here this time as we were the first time.”

Ben Mar­got, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Stan­ford quar­ter­back Kevin Ho­gan will be making a record- ty­ing third Rose Bowl start.

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