STANFORD -- For the first time in 13 years, Stanford is going to the Rose Bowl.

The Cardinal defeated UCLA 27-24 on Friday to win the Pac-12 championship game and advance to Pasadena, where it will face the Big Ten champion (either Nebraska or Wisconsin) on Jan. 1.

It's Stanford's third consecutive appearance in the Bowl Championship Series, and its first without quarterback Andrew Luck.

"Our mantra through the year has been to play loose, play focused and play with a chip our on shoulder,'' said Cardinal coach David Shaw, whose team was projected to finish second in the North division.

"Part of that chip was to prove that we weren't a one-man organization."

The victory came in familiar fashion for Stanford (11-2): Keep it close until the fourth quarter, stay poised, and make just enough big plays to win. The specific formula Friday involved rallying from a 24-17 deficit early in the fourth quarter and scoring the game's final 10 points.

"We looked across the field, and they were riled up," said quarterback Kevin Hogan, who accounted for two touchdowns and was named the game's MVP. "We knew we had to stay calm and play our style."

The clutch performance included a 26-yard, game-tying touchdown pass from Hogan to receiver Drew Terrell early in the fourth quarter and kicker Jordan Williamson's 36-yard field goal -- the decisive points -- with 6:49 remaining.


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The Bruins had a chance to tie in the final minute, but kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn's 52-yard field goal was a few yards short.

"They made the plays when they had to make them,'' UCLA coach Jim Mora said.

Stanford dominated the Bruins last week in the Rose Bowl (a 35-17 victory), but it was clear early that the rain-soaked rematch would follow a different script.

The Bruins scored touchdowns on their first two possessions as tailback Johnathan Franklin repeatedly sliced through Stanford's usually stout defense. Franklin finished with 194 yards and combined with quarterback Brett Hundley (23 of 31) to repeatedly flummox the Cardinal.

"We talked about how it would not be easy, how we would get UCLA's best shot,'' Shaw said. "But our guys hung in. We knew it would come down to the end.''

Played in front of a sparse crowd of 31,622, the game turned on two plays.

The first came with UCLA leading 14-7 early in the second quarter and driving for more. But on second down at Stanford's 36, Hundley's sideline pass was picked off by Stanford safety Ed Reynolds.

After his sixth interception of the season, Reynolds turned upfield and somehow eluded 10 UCLA tacklers on a mad dash to the end zone. He was eventually run down by Hundley at the 1.

On the next play, tailback Stepfan Taylor scored the tying touchdown.

"That was the game-changer,'' Shaw said of the interception. "It took points off the board for them and put points on the board for us.''

But the Bruins didn't wilt. By the time the third quarter came to a close, they had reclaimed the momentum and, thanks to Franklin's 20-yard run, taken a seven-point lead.

The Cardinal, which has come from behind numerous times this season (think: USC, Arizona and Oregon State), calmly crossed midfield and moved into scoring range.

The drive appeared stalled after a holding penalty. But on third-and-15, Hogan connected with Terrell, who was open -- surprisingly -- in the end zone.

"We had a communication breakdown and busted a coverage at a very inopportune time,'' Mora said.

Hogan had several choices as he stood in the pocket: Four receivers were heading downfield while a fifth cut across the middle as a safety valve.

Once UCLA's safety began to shadow Stanford tight end Zach Ertz in the middle of the field, a throwing lane opened for Hogan deep down the right side.

"It was a great throw and a great catch,'' Shaw said. "And a big play."

Stanford's defense tightened, forcing UCLA to punt from the 9. After an 18-yard return by Terrell, the Cardinal converted one first down and sent Williamson out for what became the game-winning field goal.

  • Stanford has defeated a ranked opponent four consecutive weeks: No. 13 Oregon State, No. 1 Oregon, No. 15 UCLA and No. 17 UCLA.

    "It's been a good month,'' said Hogan, whose tenure as the starter coincides with the winning streak over ranked opponents.

  • Taylor was held to just 78 yards but broke Stanford's career rushing record held by Darrin Nelson (4,169 yards).

  • Representatives from the Rose, Alamo, Holiday and Kraft Fight Hunger bowls attended the game.

  • Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Friday that the conference has no plans to expand despite the latest round of realignment affecting the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference. Scott said the Pac-12 was "at optimum size."

    For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.

    Jan. 1
    ROSE BOWL
    At Pasadena: Stanford vs. TBD, 2 p.m., ESPN

    Stanford's ROse Bowl History
    How Stanford has fared in past Rose Bowls:
    1902: Michigan 49, Stanford 0
    1925: Notre Dame 27, Stanford 10
    1927: Stanford 7, Alabama 7
    1928: Stanford 7, Pittsburgh 6
    1934: Columbia 7, Stanford 0
    1935: Alabama 29, Stanford 13
    1936: Stanford 7, SMU 0
    1941: Stanford 21, Nebraska 13
    1952: Illinois 40, Stanford 7
    1971: Stanford 27, Ohio State 17
    1972: Stanford 13, Michigan 12
    2000: Wisconsin 17, Stanford 9
    Overall: 5-6-1