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Hogan or not, Stanford a handful for Oregon State

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Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) is likely a game-time decision when the Cardinal face the Oregon State Beavers tonight. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Even if Stanford doesn’t have Kevin Hogan, Oregon State still faces a considerable challenge in the No. 21 Cardinal tonight.

Hogan injured his left ankle in Stanford’s upset victory over USC last weekend and he’s likely a game-time decision against the Beavers.

He shouldn’t be counted out. Hurt in the second half against the Trojans, he gritted out the win. The senior quarterback completed 18 of 23 passes for 279 yards and a pair of touchdowns, earning Pac-12 offensive player of the week honors.

Oregon State coach Gary Andersen admired Hogan’s toughness in the victory, adding that he fully expects him to play.

“He’s a well-rounded, experienced guy with some very talented kids around him. He’s in tremendous command of that offense, also,” Andersen said. “There’s not a lot of things he hasn’t seen and there’s not a lot of offense that’s gonna be called where he’s not going to be very comfortable, obviously, producing.”

Hogan is now tied for fourth in school history at 53 career touchdown passes, joining some illustrious company. Andrew Luck is the Cardinal all-time leader with 82, breaking John Elway’s mark of 77. His limp was pronounced against USC, but he still had one of his best games, battling for rushing yardage when everyone in the Coliseum knew he was hurt.

“Our team already respects him, but people got an idea of just how tough this man is,” Stanford coach David Shaw said.

If Hogan can’t play, Shaw will opt for one of two inexperienced backups: junior Ryan Burns or sophomore Keller Chryst, son of 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst. “I have no idea if Kevin will play or not, but I feel confident with the No. 2 and No. 3 string guys,” said running back Christian McCaffrey, who rushed for 115 yards at USC. “You always prepare like you’re a starter.”

Don’t tell Shaw that Stanford is over a hump after his team’s rough 1-1 start. An impressive victory over then-No. 6 USC certainly corralled the nation’s attention, but in his view, Oregon State is every bit the hurdle.

“We haven’t earned the right to be overconfident,” Shaw said. “We played one really good game from start to finish [this season] — one out of three. We’re trying to build some momentum. We’re trying to be the team we want to be. And the team that we want to be doesn’t worry about what happened in the last game. We worry about what happens in the next game.”

The Beavers, in the first season under Andersen, have freshman Seth Collins at quarterback. Collins threw for 135 yards and a score in Oregon State’s 35-21 victory over San Jose State last weekend. But he did the most damage with his feet, running for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Collins is the sixth-ranked rusher in the Pac-12 with an average of 98 yards a game.

“Another quarterback in our league who is tough to prepare for. He does so many things. He can make throws,” Shaw said. “They are still growing as an offense. They give you a variety of looks. They keep you on your toes.”

A bigger concern for Stanford is Storm Barrs-Woods who came alive just in time for Pac-12 play. The senior running back, whom the Beavers will depend on with a still-learning quarterback, ran for 151 yards and a touchdown last weekend.

Through three games this season, Stanford has allowed opponents an average of 139.7 total rushing yards and just two total touchdowns on the ground. The Cardinal also have a history of success in stopping Oregon State’s rush. Last year, in a 38-14 rout in Palo Alto, Stanford held the Beavers to just 12 yards on the ground.

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