Stanford dominates Iowa, 45-16, to win Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl is usually one of the most anticipated bowl games of the college football season. It’s on New Year’s Day, features two premiere programs from the Big Ten and PAC-12, and has all the hoopla of the Tournament of Roses Parade earlier in the day.

When the Iowa Hawkeyes took the field against the Stanford Cardinal, I can almost guarantee that they wish their day would have started a lot differently. It didn’t take long for the PAC-12 champions to get up big in the game and it was all because of Heisman Trophy runner-up Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey showed why he will be the favorite for the award in 2016 on the very first play. He caught a swing pass from Kevin Hogan and raced 75 yards for the touchdown and that was just the beginning.

Hogan moved his team down the field and then got into the endzone. He did so with his feet as he scrambled in from eight yards out.

The defense decided that they wanted to get in on the fun. They did just that on the ensuing Hawkeyes’ drive as Quenton Meeks picked off a C.J. Beathard pass and raced 66 yards for the score.

The Cardinal took a commanding 21-0 lead into the second quarter, but they weren’t satisfied with that. McCaffrey did something about it as he showed off his speed on a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown just 48 seconds into the quarter.

McCaffrey was easily the most impressive player on the field during the game, however, it was Hogan the most impressive play. Midway through the quarter, he put his team up 35-0 after he faked a fumble and tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Rector.

The Cardinal took that lead into halftime and decided to slow things down a bit as they only put up 10 points in the second half. Either that, or the Hawkeyes’ defense decided to show up.

The teams traded field goals in the third quarter and the Hawkeyes’ offense finally found their way into the endzone. Beathard found Matt VandeBerg from 36 yards out. Of course, their kicker missed the extra point, because that’s how the day was going, and the score stood at 38-9.

On the ensuing drive, McCaffrey knew he had just a few yards to go before breaking Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis’s Rose Bowl all-purpose yards record of 346. He did just that on a 25-yard run.

Beathard and the Hawkeyes wouldn’t say die as they finally got things going just a little too late. He found Akrum Wadley from 31 yards out to make the score 38-16.

The Cardinal pretty much put the game away on the next drive. Hogan found Rector for the second time in the game, this time from 42 yards out to make the score 45-16.

Stanford went on to win the game by that final score. This was the Cardinal’s second win in the Rose Bowl in their last three appearances since 2012.

McCaffrey won MVP honors for the night as he went for 172 yards on the ground, 105 yards through the air with a touchdown, and 91 yards on returns with a touchdown. He is the first person to have 100 receiving and rushing yards in the history of the Rose Bowl.

He had a total of 368 yards for the night and it is surely difficult to believe that he won’t be the favorite for the Heisman Trophy next season.

Hogan also had a great night with 223 yards and three touchdowns, two to Rector. He also rushed for 24 yards and a touchdown.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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