PASADENA, Calif. — The first time Christian McCaffrey touched the ball in the 102nd Rose Bowl, he took it 75 yards for a spectacular touchdown. A few hundred yards later, Stanford's sophomore star had smashed the oldest bowl game's record for all-purpose offense while leading the No. 5 Cardinal to a 45-16 victory over No. 6 Iowa on Friday.
McCaffrey just missed winning the Heisman Trophy, and Stanford barely missed out on the College Football Playoff. But they have a coveted postseason trophy — and a bright future.
McCaffrey caught a touchdown pass on the opening snap and returned a punt 66 yards for another score while racking up 368 all-purpose yards.
Three-time Rose Bowl starter Kevin Hogan passed for 223 yards and three touchdowns in his final game for Stanford (12-2).
"It's so fun when a team can come together," McCaffrey said. "We've got a bunch of fighters on this team that will never give up. Just love playing with these guys."
McCaffrey broke the all-purpose yards record set by Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis in 2012.
"I think he was the best player in America before this game, so I think it's just the icing on the cake," Stanford coach David Shaw said of his running back.
McCaffrey finished with 172 yards rushing, 105 yards receiving and 91 on kick returns, putting an appropriate cap on the season in which he set the NCAA record for all-purpose yards. He also became the first player with more than 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in a Rose Bowl, and became the single-season rushing leader in Stanford history with 2,109 yards.
"No one doubted that he was going to do that, and I have the best vantage point in the stadium," Hogan said of McCaffrey. "He's a special player."
C.J. Beathard passed for 239 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Hawkeyes (12-2), whose thousands of fans had little to cheer after Iowa fell behind in the opening seconds, putting a daylong damper on Kirk Ferentz's first Rose Bowl after 17 years as a head coach.
The Hawkeyes couldn't come back after Hogan hit McCaffrey with a touchdown pass down the middle 11 seconds in.
"Just like this game won't define this team, one play doesn't define a game," Ferentz said. "We had ample opportunity after that to play, but they played a tremendous game in all phases."