Kevin Hogan and Taylor Kelly have been standouts for their teams all season.
This year’s Pac-12 Championship Game features the Stanford Cardinal and Arizona State Sun Devils, two of the top five teams in the Championship Drive Ratings. Both teams run the ball on more than half of their offensive plays, but they also have efficient quarterbacks.
Hogan avoids negative plays
Hogan is 15-2 as Stanford’s starting quarterback and has yet to lose a game against an AP top-25 opponent in nine career starts. One of those wins was a 42-28 victory against then-No. 23 Arizona State on Sept. 21. Hogan had a 94.6 Total QBR in that game, 55.2 points higher than Kelly.
Hogan has value that does not show up on the stat sheet.
Stanford has just 51 plays that lost yards this season, fewest in the FBS. Of Hogan’s 298 dropbacks, only 12 resulted in a negative play (4 percent) compared with 42 negative plays in 492 dropbacks for Kelly (9 percent). In fact, Kelly has taken 19 more sacks than Hogan has negative plays this season.
Hogan rarely gets credit as a rusher, but he has run for 290 yards this season, including a season-high 57 yards in Stanford’s win against Oregon.
Stanford’s rushing efficiency has opened up play action; Hogan has thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions while averaging 10.6 yards per attempt after a run fake.
Kelly carries the Sun Devils
Arizona State is in the midst of a seven-game win streak, averaging 44 points per game in those wins. Kelly has been the driving force for the Sun Devils, as he has been responsible for 21 touchdowns and has just five turnovers during the streak.
Kelly has taken a lot of sacks partly because Arizona State has been more reliant on him than Stanford has been on Hogan.
Kelly has been the passer or rusher on 58 percent of Arizona State’s plays, compared with 42 percent of Stanford’s plays for Hogan. He is the Sun Devils’ second-leading rusher (437 yards) and has been responsible for running Arizona State’s zone read.
Kelly will also have the home-field advantage on Saturday, which has been important to Arizona State all season.
The Sun Devils are 7-0 at home and their average margin of victory is 28.3 points in those games. Kelly has a 82.9 opponent-adjusted QBR at home and has 15 more completions of 20 yards or longer at home than on the road. Stanford is 3-2 on the road and Hogan has a 58.3 opponent-adjusted QBR away from the Farm. His completion percentage is 8 percentage points worse on the road than at home as he failed to complete 65 percent of his passes in any of his five road games.