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Takeaways from Stanford vs Rice

The Cardinal impressed down under

2017 US College Football Sydney Cup Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

Stanford scored sixty two points against Rice, and last year, it took the offense almost three games to score that many points. It's safe to say that Stanford looks like a better team this year after the season opener. Here are the major takeaways from the game in Sydney.

Bryce Love will (almost) fill the void of Christian McCaffrey

Love almost took the ball to the house on the first play of scrimmage, and Christian McCaffrey became a distant memory. Then, Stanford's punt return team came onto the field, and Jay Tyler dropped the punt. Suddenly, McCaffrey returned into our heads.

Love ran for 180 yards basically in one half and averaged almost 14 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Jay Tyler didn't exactly impress. He dropped a punt and averaged a mediocre 10.7 yards per return. Ultimately, McCaffrey may be missed in the return game this season.

Keller Chryst is a better player than last year

A few weeks ago, it was uncertain if Chryst would play against Rice after suffering a torn ACL in the Sun Bowl, but now, he looks perfectly healthy. In Sydney, Chryst looked confident, never felt pressured, and threw some dimes, but specifically, he showed more finesse in his passes. He threw a lob into the end zone to Colby Parkinson, and last year, that pass most likely would've been overthrown. Expect Chryst to take a big leap forward in 2017.

The offensive line will be dominant again

Running lanes were clear, and Stanford running backs ran wild on Saturday. A large part of that had to do with the offensive line, and with so many returning starters, everything seemed to click for the unit up front. A couple years ago, Stanford's line led the Cardinal to the Rose Bowl, and this year's line shows similar promise.

David Shaw has changed his redshirt strategy

In the past, players would come to the Farm and almost undoubtedly be redshirted. This year is different as at least four true freshman played in the game. Conor Weddington led the team in receiving, Colby Parkinson snagged a touchdown pass, and Foster Sarrell and Walker Little both played in the second half.

After seeing talented players leave early, maybe David Shaw has realized it's time to stop redshirting future NFL stars.

Bottom Line

Yes, Stanford played Rice, but Cardinal fans have rarely seen a Stanford team this dominant. Last year Stanford only beat Rice by a little more than 20. This year, the game down under was an utter domination, and Stanford should be a legitimate PAC-12 threat this year, and if I were USC right now, I'd be a lot more nervous for the Stanford game than I was a week ago.