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Four-down territory: Stanford

Four things the football teams from Iowa and Stanford can do to position themselves for a win Friday in the Rose Bowl: STANFORD (11-2) 1. Ride the horse Christian McCaffrey has been a be-all, do-all player for Stanford and that won't likely change against Iowa. The sophomore earned his selection by the Associated Press as its national player of the year and his runner-up finish in Heisman Trophy balloting with his entire body of work in 2015. He leads the Cardinal in rushing, receiving and in returning both kicks and punts. He's carried 319 times, 270 times more than Stanford's second-leading rusher. McCaffery averages 142.1 passing yards and 41.5 receiving yards per game. In addition, he's totaled 1,042 kickoff return yards this season. 2. Win the arms race. Senior quarterback Kevin Hogan has quietly gone about his business as McCaffrey has collected awards. He'll start in his third Rose Bowl on Friday and working in tandem with an offensive line that includes four senior starters, Hogan has a lot to do with the efficient operation of a Cardinal offense which averages 37.2 points and 436 yards per game. He's competed 68.6 percent of his 283 passes this year, throwing 24 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. 3. Put together a healthy defensive effort. Stanford's defensive numbers are skewed a bit because of the inordinate number of spread offenses it has seen playing in the Pac 12. The Cardinal surrender 227.6 yards per game through the air, but improved health should help Stanford compete. The Pac 12 leader in tackles, linebacker Blake Martinez, and experienced cornerback Ronnie Harris have had time to heal nagging late-season ankle sprains. Martinez has 131 tackles this season while Harris ranks third in the Pac 12 with 10 pass break ups. Martinez, along with linebackers Peter Kalambayi and Kevin Anderson, will give the Cardinal a chance to disrupt the flow of the Iowa offense. 4. Enjoy another day at the office. The Cardinal will be in their comfort zone at the Rose Bowl. This is the team's third appearance in four years and Hogan makes his third start in the game as well against an Iowa team that last played Pasadena in 1991. The Cardinal should be comfortable in this game, while the Hawkeyes could deal with a couple of wide-eyed moments early. Settling into the routine early because of that experience could help Stanford. IOWA (12-1) 1. Establish the run. The return of a healthy Jordan Canzeri only adds to the possibilities for Iowa's most effective rushing attack in more than a decade. After spraining an ankle early in the Big Ten title game against Michigan State, Canzeri needs 24 yards on Friday to become the Hawkeyes' first 1,000-yard rusher since Marcus Coker in 2011. He'll complement the abilities of LeShun Daniels, Akrum Wadley and Derrick Mitchell. Iowa's chances of adding to its collection of 192 rushing yards per game starts with up front, where center Austin Blythe and guards Jordan Walsh and Sean Welsh have joined senior fullbacks Macon Plewa and Adam Cox in plowing open the paths to make the Hawkeye rushing attack work. 2. Use time management skills No team in the nation has held the football more than Stanford, which averages 35 minutes, 23 seconds of possession time per game. That's nearly four minutes better than what Iowa has averaged at 31:31 per game and the Hawkeyes' ability to work the clock and get the Cardinal closer to a 50-50 proposition could potentially be the most significant thing Iowa can do to put themselves in a position for success. 3. Play takeaway Iowa has thrived at taking the ball away from opponents this season. The Hawkeyes are tied for 10th in the country with a plus 12 turnover margin on the year and are tied for 14th in the FBS level with 26 takeaways on the year. Desmond King with eight interceptions, Josey Jewell with three and Greg Mabin with two lead the Hawkeyes in picking off passes while eight Iowa players have recovered fumbles this season. 4. Play big on the big stage. Quarterback C.J. Beathard has embraced the role he was cast for when he was elevated to the top of the depth chart last January. The junior has completed 61.4 percent of his 329 passes while orchestrating an attack that averages 32.1 points and 391.yards per game.

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