Stanford senior quarterback Kevin Hogan may owe USC freshman Porter Gustin a short thank you note. One play after Gustin sacked the Cardinal quarterback, he came flying in to help finish off another sack, this one by senior linebacker Anthony Sarao, who was about to come down hard on Hogan's left foot.
It was bad enough that Sarao corralled Hogan and began dragging him to the ground; Hogan's left foot getting stuck under the hefty defender and his left knee buckling in a different direction.
Hogan's left ankle injury, early in the second half of Saturday's 41-31 upset of then-No. 6 Southern California, remains worrisome for the No. 21-ranked Cardinal (1-0 Pac-12, 2-1 overall) as it prepares for Friday night's game against Oregon State in Corvallis.
Stanford coach David Shaw said Tuesday that Hogan will not participate in practice for a few days and that Hogan will test his ankle on Thursday.
"We are fortunate it was not season-ending," Shaw said. "If he can do a little bit on Thursday, it might be a game-time decision. Structurally he was not going to make it worse. He was limping to and from the huddle but he scrambled when he needed. He gritted it out and did it."
Hogan completed 18 of 23 passes for 279 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Trojans, which fell to No. 19 in this week's AP Top 25 poll. He earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Back-ups Ryan Burns and Palo Alto grad Keller Chryst, the son of San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, have minimal game experience.
Burns appeared in two games last year and completed his only pass attempt. Chryst played against Central Florida, completing a pass for 20 yards.
"I have no idea if Kevin will play or not but I feel confident with the No. 2 and No. 3 string guys," Cardinal sophomore running back Christian McCaffrey said. "You always prepare like you're a starter."
Shaw said he has contingency plans in place should Hogan, a four-year starter, be unable to go against the Beavers.
"If he plays, I hope he takes every snap," Shaw said. "We have emergency, emergency plans if we need them."
Hogan led Stanford to a pair of Rose Bowl appearances and to last year's Foster Farms Bowl.
"It's hard to put into words what he means; it's so much," McCaffrey said. "I think of him as a silent guardian. He's not very vocal but he is the best leader on our team."
The Cardinal returned to the national poll following a two-week absence. Stanford opened the year ranked No. 21.
"We haven't earned the right to be overconfident," Shaw said. "We've played one good game from start to finish. We have to back that up with a good football game on the road in a raucous environment."
NOTES: Shaw said the team had to back off from contact the first couple of practices to give players a break. "That was a hard-fought game," he said. "It was a very physical football game . . . Outside linebackers Peter Kalambayi and Paly grad Kevin Anderson "also got banged up a little bit." . . . . Both of Stanford sophomore linebacker Joey Alfieri parents attended Oregon State. Father Phil was a four-year lettermen as a defensive end for the Beavers (1983-88) and mother Kelly (1984-88) still owns the fifth-fastest 400 hurdles time in school history . . . The Cardinal has a five-game winning streak against the Beavers.