It is Stanford's first bowl victory in 14 years, and No. 12-ranked Virginia Tech did not hold much ground against No. 5-ranked Stanford.
Quarterback Andrew Luck, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, easily nabbed MVP of the game, throwing 287 yards and four touchdowns.
For the first time since 1940, the Cardinal will likely finish the season in the top five for the first time since 1940.
Despite a sloppy first half, Stanford led at halftime, 13-12, thanks to a 60-yard touchdown run by tailback Jeremy Stewart.
Halfway into the third quarter, Stanford executed a clean, three-play sequence including Luck's 41-yard pass to Coby Fleener for a touchdown—one of three by Fleener in the second half—rounding in the lead for the night.
"It does wonders for our team when we can be in the shadow of our goal line and in two plays go to the end zone," said Luck.
Back on the West Coast, Stanford students and alumni gathered to watch the game on TV, cheering on the Cardinal from dorm rooms and sports bars.
Sophomore Brianna Pang watched the game in her dorm lounge. "When you think Stanford, you think nerd school," she said. But the past couple of days have changed this image for Pang, who is from Oakland.
"Stanford's football domination—along with the men's basketball win over Cal this weekend and women's basketball amazing win over UConn, despite their 90-game streak—shows that it's actually possible to be well-rounded—athletic, intelligent and sociable," said Pang.
It is Stanford football's head coach Jim Harbaugh's fourth season with the team, and it is expected to be his last. Rumor has it that Harbaugh is being recruited by his alma mater, the University of Michigan, or by the San Francisco 49ers, but Harbaugh continues to dodge inquiries about his future.
Luck is expected to enter the NFL for the next season, as draft analyst Mel Kiper called him the No. 1 pick in April. But Luck has yet to make a final decision.
"I'll definitely enjoy this talk to my folks and figure something out in the next couple of days," Luck told the Miami Herald of his future.
Read more about the game and Stanford football at gostanford.com.