Updated Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 08:31 PM
STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford coach David Shaw fought back tears. Running back Stepfan Taylor's voice trembled. Linebacker Alex Debniak's eye black smeared all over his face.
In the home locker room at Stanford Stadium late Saturday afternoon, these were not the looks of the losers. Instead, they were the emotions from surviving Senior Day and the possibility of an intriguing opportunity ahead: a chance to host one more game this season.
And they can thank a redshirt freshman and a fortunate fumble for the chance.
Kevin Hogan threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate start, and No. 16 Stanford overcame four turnovers to rally past No. 13 Oregon State 27-23 on Saturday and stay in control of its Pac-12 title hopes.
"They came back and made some plays to help us win the game," Shaw said. "Almost Shakespearean, to a certain degree."
Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz fumbled late in the fourth quarter to give the Cardinal (8-2, 6-1) the ball at the Beavers 29. The only Oregon State (7-2, 5-2) turnover turned out to be the difference.
Hogan audibled out of a run and called the play "Special," which Stanford also ran to convert a fourth-and-nine in an overtime win against Arizona earlier this season, and hit tight end Zach Ertz for a 13-yard touchdown to make it 27-23 with 5:07 left, and Stanford stopped the Beavers twice more.
Now the Cardinal will head to second-ranked Oregon next in what could be a North Division final — if Stanford also beats UCLA in its season finale — for a spot in the conference championship game. Oregon has beaten Stanford the last two seasons.
"We've got to realize what's at stake," said Taylor, who ran for 114 yards and a touchdown, eclipsing 1,000 yards rushing for the third straight season. "I think everybody on this team knows that, and everybody is coming together for that one goal that we all want."
Vaz left with an ankle injury, and Sean Mannion — the former starter — threw incomplete on fourth-and-16 from the Oregon State 37 with 1:52 left.
Hogan, who took over the starting role from inconsistent Josh Nunes, was 22 of 29 with two interceptions. He also ran for 49 yards on 11 carries.
Vaz finished 23-of-38 passing for 226 yards and a touchdown and Storm Woods ran for 94 yards in a deflating loss for Oregon State, which rallied from a 14-0 deficit to score 23 straight points and controlled the pace for most of the game.
"We're disappointed, obviously," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. "It was a tough loss and we had our opportunities. What we did was give up the big play two scores up and gave them back the momentum. That was big for them. Then the turnover gave them good field position to score the winning touchdown."
Stan — Taylor 1 run (Williamson kick), 5:41.
Stan — Hewitt 12 pass from Hogan (Williamson kick), :31.
OrSt — Ward 7 run (Romaine kick), 10:51.
OrSt — FG Romaine 19, 2:21.
OrSt — Wheaton 22 pass from Vaz (Romaine kick), 10:17.
OrSt — FG Romaine 42, 7:34.
OrSt — FG Romaine 44, 3:30.
Stan — Taylor 40 pass from Hogan (Williamson kick), :00.
Stan — Ertz 13 pass from Hogan (run failed), 5:07.
A — 47,127.
|Time of Possession||28:56||31:04|
Rushing — Oregon St., Woods 15-94, Ward 5-7, Cooks 2-1, Anderson 1-0, Vaz 5-(- 16). Stanford, Taylor 19-114, Hogan 11-49, Wilkerson 4-13, Team 4-(- 6), Patterson 1-(- 7).
Passing — Oregon St., Vaz 23-38-0-226, Mannion 0-1-0-0. Stanford, Hogan 22-29-2-254.
Receiving — Oregon St., Wheaton 7-91, Cooks 7-82, Hamlett 2-27, Prince 2-13, Woods 2-7, Ward 2-4, K.Cummings 1-2. Stanford, Ertz 9-75, Hewitt 4-52, Terrell 3-36, Taylor 2-47, Young 1-17, Toilolo 1-13, Patterson 1-9, Montgomery 1-5.
PATRICK TEHAN / MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS
Stanford's Zach Ertz pulls in a pass in the end zone for a fourth-quarter touchdown past Oregon State defenders Jordan Poyer and Anthony Watkins (3). The Cardinal remains in contention for the Pac-12 North title.
EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES
Colin Kelly of Oregon State sits on the bench after the Beavers' 27-23 loss to Stanford.