Jan. 1, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
PASADENA, Calif. — No. 6 Stanford was a thorn in the fifth-ranked University of Iowa football team’s side, handing the Hawkeyes a 45-16 New Year’s Day defeat in the 102nd Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual.
The Cardinal scored a Rose Bowl record 35 first-half points and led 38-0 early in the second half. The deficit was too great to overcome, despite the Hawkeyes winning the second half, 16-10.
“We’re disappointed at the outcome of the game today, the way we played,” said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. “But with that being said, I want to say how proud I am of our football team. They have been tremendous all season long, 13 times they prepared well, competed hard, but today, it just didn’t work out for us.
“This hurts and we’ll learn from it. We’ll move on, improve, and it’s something we’ll deal with.”
Iowa concludes its 2015 season with a 12-2 overall record. The 12 victories are the most in school history.
Stanford out-gained Iowa, 429-287, in the game. The Cardinal’s Christian McCaffrey accounted for 368 all-purpose yards (172 rushing, 105 receiving, 28 kick return, and 63 punt return), becoming the first player in Rose Bowl history to have 100+ rushing and receiving yards in the same game. He was the game’s offensive MVP.
“He’s a great running back,” senior Jordan Lomaxsaid of McCaffrey. “Everybody saw that today and has seen it all season long. His ability to allude tackles and stay on his feet… he’s a great player.”
Senior quarterback Kevin Hogan guided Stanford to the Rose Bowl title, completing 12-of-21 attempts for 223 yards with three touchdowns. McCaffrey was the leading receiver, catching four passes for 105 yards and a score.
The Cardinal defense forced two turnovers and held the Hawkeyes’ rushing game in check. Iowa finished with 48 yards on the ground, forcing the Hawkeyes to the air. With Iowa dropping back to pass, Stanford teed off, recording seven sacks — coming from eight different players — and tallied 10.5 tackles for loss in the game.
Junior C.J. Beathard completed 21-of-33 attempts for 239 yards with two touchdowns to lead Iowa’s offense. Junior LeShun Daniels, Jr., had a team-high 37 yards rushing, and junior Matt VandeBerg caught four passes for 64 yards with a score.
Junior Miles Taylor paced the Hawkeye defense with seven solo tackles.
The Cardinal needed just 11 seconds to score the game’s first touchdown and led 35-0 at the half. Stanford had three touchdowns of 63 yards or greater, including a punt return and interception return for a touchdown, in the opening 30 minutes.
After receiving the opening kickoff, McCaffrey made his presence known on the first play from scrimmage, catching the ball in the seam out of the backfield and racing 75 yards for a touchdown. Stanford pushed its lead to 14-0 on its second drive, moving 74 yards over eight plays. Hogan capped off the drive, faking a handoff and scoring untouched from 8 yards out to push Stanford’s lead to 14-0 less than six minutes into the contest.
The Cardinal pushed their lead to 21-0 — a Rose Bowl record for first-quarter points — courtesy of the game’s first turnover. On third-and-3, defensive back Quenton Meeks jumped a pass intended for VandeBerg and raced 66 yards for a touchdown with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
McCaffrey was at it again at the start of the second quarter, returning a Dillon Kidd punt for a touchdown. McCaffrey fielded the punt at the Cardinal 37, made two Hawkeyes miss and took the punt 63 yards for the touchdown.
Stanford had a 73-yard McCaffery touchdown run called back on its next possession, but the drive still ended with a touchdown. The 85-yard drive concluded with a 31-yard touchdown pass when Hogan faked a fumble before connecting with Michael Rector in the corner of the end zone to extend the lead to 35-0 with 8:22 remaining in the half.
Coming out of the locker room, Stanford pushed their lead to 38-0 with a 51-yard scoring drive that ended with a 31-yard Conrad Ukropina field goal. Iowa’s offense then gained momentum, taking advantage of a Stanford miscue.
Iowa broke the goose egg on the scoreboard, after taking over on the Stanford 25-yard line following a high snap on a punt. The drive covered just four yards and spanned it plays, but it resulted in a 39-yard Marshall Koehn field goal, making the score 38-3.
Junior Desmond King jump-started Iowa’s first touchdown drive, nearly taking an Alex Robinson punt to the house early in the fourth quarter. King fielded the punt at his own 31, made a move, and raced 38 yards to the Stanford 31. Blake Martinez made a shoe-string, touchdown-saving tackle.
On the third play of the drive, Beathard hooked up with VandeBerg for a 36-yard touchdown pass along the Iowa sideline — it was VandeBerg’s fourth touchdown this season. Koehn missed the extra point, cutting the deficit to 38-9 with 13:12 remaining.
Stanford marched 61 yards on its ensuing possession, deep into Iowa territory before the Hawkeyes forced a turnover in the end zone. On third-and-goal from the 9, Hogan had a pass deflected in the end zone, where it ricocheted into the hands of sophomore Josey Jewell for the interception.
The Hawkeyes followed with a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive to make the score 38-16. Beathard found sophomore Akrum Wadley along the Cardinal sideline when he slipped out of the backfield and caught a 31-yard touchdown pass, the first of his career.
Following a failed on-side kick, Stanford put an exclamation point on the victory. The Cardinal caught Iowa in a corner blitz and Hogan made it pay, connecting with Rector on a 42-yard touchdown strike, pushing the Stanford lead to 45-16.