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After a year playing baseball, Tyler Gaffney returns to Stanford and exceeds expectations

Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney, right, runs against Notre Dame during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. Stanford won 27-20. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)The Associated Press

Tyler Gaffney attended last year's Pac-12 championship game as a fan, milling around the sidelines at Stanford Stadium before kickoff and spending the rest of the night in the stands.

This time he'll be the featured attraction.

After playing baseball in the minor leagues last year, Gaffney's remarkable return to football is one of the biggest reasons seventh-ranked Stanford (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) has a chance for consecutive Rose Bowl berths. He has run for 1,485 yards and 17 touchdowns entering Saturday night's showdown at No. 11 Arizona State (10-2, 8-1), turning in one consistent performance after another, which will likely land him in the NFL draft.