Kevin Hogan is coming off his first loss as a starting quarterback since his senior year of high school in 2010.
Hogan won his first 10 games as No. 13 Stanford’s signal caller and now he’s looking to get his team back on track against No. 9 UCLA at Stanford Stadium on Saturday.
“The thing about Hogan is that he’s so competitive that things like this hurt him a little bit inside, but at the end of the day, he’s ready to move on,” center Khalil Wilkes said.
In his first four games this year, Hogan produced an average passer efficiency rating of 175.7, but then he posted a 108.5 against No. 20 Washington on Oct. 5 and a 144.3 in Stanford’s loss to Utah last Saturday. The Cardinal’s 13-game winning streak ended after he threw back-to-back incompletions from Utah’s 6-yard line.
“He has not played his best game in the last couple of games,” coach David Shaw said. “But he’s played well enough for us to be in a position to win.”
Shaw said defenses are throwing new blitzes and fronts at the Cardinal offense, which is contributing to the unit’s struggles. He also noted that his quarterback is learning on the job.
“He’s still building and growing and learning,” Shaw said. “And he’s capable of making unbelievable plays as he has — he’s going through a maturing process.”
The third-year coach said Hogan is eager to get back on the field to avenge his first college loss.
“He understands that we go back to the film, we correct what’s correctable, we learn the lessons and move on,” Shaw said.
Plugging holes: The Cardinal’s defense is running into a problem familiar to Vic Fangio and the 49ers: how to stop the run with injuries on the line.
Derek Mason’s unit surrendered 176 rushing yards to the Utes last week with starting nose tackle David Parry playing at less than 100 percent and backup Ikenna Nwafor sidelined with a leg injury. Defensive end Henry Anderson is also out with a knee injury.
Like the 49ers, the Cardinal are typically a potent run-stopping team, finishing fifth in the nation in rushing defense last year (97 yards per game) and first in the Pac-12 Conference in each of the past two seasons.
Now, Stanford needs to slow down a UCLA squad that averages 223.4 yards per game on the ground. As a result, Shaw is moving tight end Luke Kaumatule back to his natural position on the defensive line.
“We needed a spark and that’s Luke — Luke’s the human spark,” Shaw said.
Kaumatule caught three balls for 16 yards in six games at tight end this year.