Christian McCaffrey might not have won the Hesiman Trophy this season, but he used Friday’s Rose Bowl game to make sure people remembered his name for 2016.
Stanford opened the game against Iowa with a 75-yard touchdown pass to McCaffrey on the first play from scrimmage as the Cardinal rolled to a 45-16 victory.
In addition his 75-yard touchdown reception, McCaffrey had a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown and finished with a Rose Bowl record 368 yards of total offense. Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis previously set that record in 2012.
McCaffrey also became the first player to have 100 yards rushing (172) and 100 yards receiving (109) in the Rose Bowl and became the first Stanford player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season (2,019).
McCaffrey and the Cardinal picked up where they left off in the Pac-12 title game where they defeated USC and McCaffrey scored as a runner, passer and receiver. McCaffrey finished second to Alabama’s Derrick Henry, but proved Friday that he deserved a little more consideration than he actually got.
McCafffrey moved effortlessly around the normally sound Iowa defense. He rarely was tackled by the first defender and averaged 9.6 yards per carry.
McCaffrey’s effort opened up a lot of options for the Stanford offense, which took advantage with the deep ball. Quarterback Kevin Hogan passed for 223 yards and three touchdowns in his final game as a Cardinal. Two of those touchdowns were deep passes to receiver Michael Rector, including a 31-yard strike on a fake fumble trick play that left Rector wide open on the right side of the field.
The game was essentially a nightmarish outcome for an Iowa team that went 12-0 and was on the cusp of a spot in the College Football Playoff before losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. Many might question the Hawkeyes motivation for Friday’s contest, but the Hawkeyes were playing in their first Rose Bowl in 25 years.
Still, they had no answer for McCaffrey, and when they tried to commit more defensive bodies to the run, Hogan struck in the passing game.
Offensively, Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard struggled to get any rhythm as the Stanford defense pressured him throughout the game. It also limited the Hawkeyes' running game, which managed just 48 yards on 38 carries.
McCaffrey might have been second fiddle in this year’s Heisman, but this performance definitely puts him at the front of the line in 2016.
For more Stanford news, visit CardinalSportsReport.com.
For more Iowa news, visit HawkeyeReport.com.
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