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QB Kevin Hogan helps Stanford rout Maryland in bowl blowout

Stanford head coach David Shaw has a ton of future NFL talent on his roster and he would be the first to tell you an 8-5 season capped off with a Foster Farms Bowl win is a bit of a disappointment for a program normally used to playing in a major game on New Year's Day.

But on Tuesday night at the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, the veteran coach probably cracked a smile at the way his team played Maryland to close out 2014 despite blustery conditions that some could have mistaken for taking Bay Area fans back to Candlestick Park.

Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan continued his strong finish to the season after struggling for much of the year. Though his final stat line was nothing to write home about (14-of-20, 189 yards, two touchdowns), it was a sharp effort out of an intriguing talent. The numbers were solid considering the conservative offense he's running and the fact that 45-mile-an-hour wind gusts were swirling around Levi's Stadium. There has been some talk of him foregoing his final year of eligibility on the Farm, and if that is to be the case for the redshirt junior, he went out with a bang in what would ultimately be a 45-21 win.

Freshman running back Christian McCaffrey, son of former Broncos star Ed McCaffrey, was a human highlight reel against the overmatched Terps defense most of the night when the ball was out of Hogan's hands. He was the team's leading rusher on just seven carries and made several defenders miss while juking and hurdling his way through the defense on punt returns, as well. Big wide receiver Devon Cajuste picked up the slack with Ty Montgomery out due to injury, hauling in two scores and making several nice catches.

The Cardinal's offensive line, led by All-American Andrus Peat, was a big reason why the team's offense was able to have so much success. Equally responsible for the big win was the suffocating defense that continued to show why it was one of the best units in the country this year with six sacks of Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown. Senior defensive end Henry Anderson closed out his career at Stanford with three of those sacks and was a constant presence in the backfield in his final showing for NFL scouts before moving on to the next level.

Maryland wideout Stefon Diggs was one of the few bright spots for his team after returning to action for the bowl game despite suffering a lacerated kidney earlier this year. He led the Terps in receiving (10 catches, 138 yards) and posted several nice grabs for big gains against a stout secondary. Cornerback Will Likely also contributed a 100-yard kick return for a score in the fourth quarter to cap a solid effort, as well.

It was all Stanford on Tuesday night, however, and performances like that are one reason why a talented team that returns a number of key starters in 2015 will be looking to use that big blowout win as momentum heading into the offseason.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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