BOULDER, Colo. -- Stanford will have a new quarterback as it enters a rugged stretch run with the Pac-12 North title at stake.
Coach David Shaw stopped short of declaring Kevin Hogan the starter after the dynamic redshirt freshman came off the bench Saturday to direct five touchdown drives in a 48-0 victory over Colorado.
But Shaw gave every indication that Hogan, not season-long starter Josh Nunes, will lead the Cardinal against No. 13 Oregon State next week.
"There's a chance you might see more than one quarterback, but you'll see a whole lot of Kevin Hogan,'' Shaw said.
Pressed for specifics, Shaw simply smiled and repeated himself: "You'll see a whole lot of Kevin Hogan.''
Stanford's game plan Saturday called for Nunes to play two series, give Hogan a chance on the third possession and, in Shaw's words, "see where it went from there.''
Nunes never got back on the field as Hogan orchestrated four consecutive touchdown drives in the second quarter. In all, he completed 18 of 23 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 6.9 yards per rush.
"I played all right,'' Hogan said. "It was good to be out there. The guys around me helped me get accustomed to the game.''
While Hogan dazzled, No. 15 Stanford's defense played one of the most dominant games in school history:
The Cardinal held the Buffaloes to minus-21 yards rushing and a paltry 76 total yards. It recorded seven sacks and became the
"We didn't give up any big plays, we swarmed to the ball, and we took away their running game early,'' said safety Ed Reynolds, whose interception return for a touchdown -- his third Pick 6 of the season -- gave Stanford a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
"On both sides of the ball, we did exactly what we wanted to do.''
The victory allowed Stanford (7-2, 5-1) to maintain control of its destiny in the Pac-12 North, but it must beat three ranked teams (Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA) to win the division.
"If we don't play well next week,'' tight end Zach Ertz said, "this means nothing.''
The lopsided nature of Saturday's victory requires perspective: Colorado isn't only the worst team in the Pac-12; it's one of the worst teams in conference history, a dreadful combination of inexperience, overmatched coaches and no talent.
The Buffaloes had been outscored by an average of 44.7 points in their previous three games (against Arizona State, USC and Oregon).
Saturday, they were called for a delay-of-game penalty on a punt and ran two plays in Stanford territory.
"There's a reason they are what they are as a defense,'' Colorado coach Jon Embree said. "We tried to run outside. We tried to run inside."
While Stanford's defense was stout throughout, the offense sputtered early. It mustered just 31 yards on two drives with Nunes at the helm. (One of his five passes was badly overthrown.)
Hogan took the field with one second remaining in the first quarter, following a Colorado fumble at its own 40. Three plays later, tailback Stepfan Taylor dashed 26 yards (untouched) for a touchdown to give Stanford a 14-0 lead.
That was good enough for Shaw, who sent Hogan back out for the next drive -- and all subsequent drives in the second and third quarters.
Working with a slightly-downsized playbook, Hogan picked apart Colorado's defense with his arm and his legs. He fired a 12-yard zinger to Ertz and a 32-yard touch pass to tight end Levine Toilolo. On a third-and-nine play, he darted 20 yards down the right side.
"One of the big things was that scramble,'' Ertz said. "It was great to see that extra dimension.''
The one thing Hogan didn't do was make a mistake: No fumbles, no interceptions.
"I can't find a lot of negatives in what he did today,'' Shaw said.