The first game of the David Shaw Era on the Farm, a 57-3 rout of San Jose State at Stanford Stadium, was a resounding success. Andrew Luck passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, Chris Owusu looked spry, Stepfan Taylor found the end zone twice, and the defense limited the Spartans to 27 yards rushing on 32 attempts. The result was a convincing win on a day full of upset losses (Sacramento State over Oregon State) and narrow escapes (Washington over Eastern Washington, Auburn over Utah State, and USC over Minnesota) across the country.
One down, 13 to go.
After Jordan Williamson put Stanford ahead midway through the first quarter with a 23-yard field goal, Luck scored the Cardinal's first touchdown of the season on a 1-yard bootleg run. Luck finished 17-for-26 for 171 yards before he was replaced in the fourth quarter by Brett Nottingham. The Heisman candidate wasn't perfect -- he overshot a wide open Coby Fleener early in the third quarter by a step -- but his numbers would've been even better if not for a few Stanford drops. One of those drops belonged to Owusu, but the senior also had 7 catches for 76 yards and a nifty 59-yard kickoff return.
The Cardinal offense, which is breaking in three new starters along the offensive line and a new fullback in Ryan Hewitt, wasn't as dominant as the final score might suggest. Stanford's 373 total yards were its fewest since last year's 35-0 win against UCLA in the second game of the season.
"We really didn't get into a rhythm," Luck said after the game. "We scored 57 points, but a large part of that was our defense and special teams. They put us in great position."
Luck wasn't sacked and rarely hurried, but Stanford didn't have a whole lot of success running the ball. Taylor had a game-high 61 yards on 18 carries, but the Cardinal had only 141 yards rushing as a team and struggled to move the chains in short yardage situations. Stanford's 58% third-down conversion rate last season was the best in the nation. Against San Jose State, the Cardinal was only 5-for-13 (38%) on third down, and 2-for-5 on third and short (3 or fewer yards).
Stanford seemed to run the ball better in the second half, and the offensive line should only continue to get better. The unit will have another chance to work out the kinks at Duke next weekend. The Blue Devils lost their season opener to FCS power Richmond.
Much more on this game tomorrow. Go Stanford!