Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, center, hands the ball off to running back Christian McCaffrey (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak
November 06, 2015

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) This Stanford quarterback doesn't have NFL teams hoping to finish bad enough to draft him with the No. 1 pick. Or a ''Horrible For Hogan'' type slogan like there was during the ''Suck For Luck'' sweepstakes a few years ago.

Still, Kevin Hogan is on the verge of holding a hallowed place in program history. He can pass Andrew Luck as the winningest starting QB at Stanford on Saturday when the ninth-ranked Cardinal (7-1, 6-0 Pac-12, No. 11 CFP) travel to Colorado (4-5, 1-4).

A fourth-year starter, Hogan has 31 victories, which is tied with Luck for the top spot. That's more than other Cardinal luminaries to play the position - familiar names like John Elway and Jim Plunkett.

Unlike Luck, he doesn't have the NFL watching his every throw, hoping to draft him with the top pick. Although, Hogan's team sure understands his importance.

''He doesn't blink an eye. He's got ice in his veins,'' said sophomore tailback Christian McCaffrey, who's from Denver and the son of former Denver Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey. ''He's helped us out so much.''

Hogan and Stanford need to be virtually perfect over the final month to have any sort of chance at crashing the College Football Playoff party. Since a season-opening loss to Northwestern, the Cardinal have won by an average of 18.6 points. However, they narrowly escaped Washington State 30-28 last weekend when the Cougars missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired.

In Hogan, the Buffaloes face a quarterback who has 14 TD tosses and two more rushing.

''The thing that he does really well is he understands where he is supposed to go with the ball,'' Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. ''He gets them in the right protections and in the right running plays.''

It's simple, really: Call McCaffrey's number. A lot. A dangerous tailback and receiving threat, he also returns kicks and punt. The 6-foot, 201-pound McCaffrey leads the nation with 244.3 all-purpose yards a game.

''I don't remember a guy that can do as many things as he does,'' MacIntyre said. ''He's just a really good football player.''

Here are things to know as Colorado hosts Stanford and tries to break a 20-game skid against ranked teams:

LOPSIDED: Stanford has outscored Colorado 96-7 in two games since the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 in 2011. ''They play hard, the way you want your team to play,'' Stanford coach David Shaw said. ''The mistakes you make, they're going to capitalize.''

BIG AUDIENCE: McCaffrey has been searching for extra tickets because there are quite a few people who want to see him play at Folsom Field. His Valor Christian High School team is even planning to show up to catch a glimpse of the possible Heisman Trophy candidate. ''Christian is an exceptional role model in every way,'' his high school coach, Rod Sherman, said.

FULL NELSON: With an 11-catch performance at UCLA last weekend, Buffs receiver Nelson Spruce became the all-time receptions leader in the Pac-12. He's hauled in 267 career passes, surpassing the mark held by Arizona's Mike Thomas (259 catches from 2005-08).

HARDLY A BLUEPRINT: It would be easy to say Colorado should replicate what Northwestern did in holding off Stanford 16-6 during the season opener. The Wildcats held Stanford to a season-low 85 yards rushing. ''But Stanford wasn't really clicking in the first game,'' MacIntyre said. ''Traveling all the way to Chicago and it's the opening game, sometimes you don't do as well as you would have liked to. If Northwestern came all the way to Palo Alto, it might have been a different result.''

RANKLED: The Buffaloes haven't beaten a ranked team since Oct. 17, 2009, when they knocked off Kansas, 34-30. ''We want to play as close to a perfect game as we possibly can,'' said Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau, who's 232 yards away from breaking the school's all-time passing mark held by Cody Hawkins (7,409 from 2007-10).


AP college football website:

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