SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Everything that Stanford was trying to do most of the season came together in the final three games, and each victory was more impressive than the prior one.
Kevin Hogan threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns, Remound Wright ran for three short scores and Stanford overwhelmed Maryland 45-21 in the Foster Farms Bowl on Tuesday night.
“We just played better. There’s no magic to it,” Cardinal coach David Shaw said.
On a chilly, windy night in Silicon Valley, Stanford (8-5) blew past the Terrapins with the kind of complete performance that had eluded the Cardinal most of the year. They outgained Maryland 414 to 222 yards and looked right at home at Levi’s Stadium, about 11 miles from campus.
It was the most points scored in a bowl game in Stanford history.
“We finished the season strong. Just the season as a whole, we know how good we are,” Hogan said. “It stinks that sometimes people look at the record and judge a team off that.”
Stanford denied Maryland its first postseason win since 2010, when it beat East Carolina in the Military Bowl. The Terrapins (7-6) lost three of their last four games in their first year in the Big Ten, which included victories at Penn State and Michigan.
But it was a forgettable finale for coach Randy Edsall’s team. The Terps traveled about 2,800 miles to play in the $1.3 billion home of the San Francisco 49ers and never really came out of their shells.
Outgoing quarterback C.J. Brown moved the offense early, though he was sacked six times and his receivers — other than star Stefon Diggs — often struggled to create separation against the nation’s second-ranked scoring defense.
“They’re the No. 2 defense for a reason,” said Brown, who finished 15-for-27 passing for 205 yards and one interception and also ran for a late touchdown. “We had a solid game plan and we executed early on. Then we fell apart a little bit.”
Diggs caught 10 passes for 138 yards, Wes Brown ran for a short TD early in the second quarter, and William Likely returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score in the fourth after the game had become a rout.
About the only other highlight for the Terps came in the first quarter, when Andre Monroe became Maryland’s career sacks leader after bringing down Hogan. It was Monroe’s 25th sack, passing Mike Corvino’s mark of 24 from 1979-82.
“We didn’t make plays on either side of the ball that would have helped us,” Edsall said.
While the sun shined across the Bay Area for the last week, the temperature dipped into the 40s at kickoff with a wind chill that made it feel like it was in the 30s — frosty weather by Northern California standards. The patchy field, where the 49ers’ logos could easily be seen under the school names painted in each end zone, also made quick movements tricky at the sparsely filled stadium.
The Cardinal overcame the conditions — and the absence of top playmaker Ty Montgomery (sprained right shoulder) for the second straight game — to end a down season on an upbeat note.
Stanford had made a BCS bowl each of the previous four seasons, including back-to-back Pac-12 titles, before falling back in 2014 in large part because of its inefficient offense.
Not this time.
Hogan, who has yet to announce whether he’ll return for his final season of eligibility, completed 14 of 20 passes. Wright tied the bowl record for touchdowns rushing and Stanford’s smothering defense did the rest.
Ten receivers caught passes, with Devon Cajuste (four receptions for 47 yards and two touchdowns) and tight end Austin Hooper (five receptions for 71 yards) leading the way.
Electric freshman Christian McCaffrey had 138 all-purpose yards. Even fifth-year senior Ricky Seale ran for his first career touchdown — a 1-yard plunge that put Stanford up 42-7 early in the fourth — for a feel-good moment to cap the Cardinal’s season.
The performance beat out Stanford’s 40-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the 2011 Orange Bowl for the program’s most points scored in a bowl game.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP
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