Stanford made quick work of U.C. Davis in a 45-0 rout.
It was exactly the type of performance that was expected, but here are a few takeaways:
Ty Montgomery is one of the nation's most exciting players. A year ago, Montgomery landed on just about every All-America team as a returner after finishing second in the country in both yards per kickoff return (30.3) and kickoff returns for touchdowns (two). But despite how good he was in that role, the Cardinal never used him on punt returns -- not once over his first three years. Shaw made it clear this year that would change and on his first career attempt, Montgomery validated that decision with a 60-yard return for a touchdown.
And while his national recognition comes from what he does on special teams, there's so much more depth to his game. In the first half, he caught fives passes for 77 yards and was also introduced as the team's new Wildcat operator (one carry, 8 yards). One thing that stands out about Montgomery is how effortless he makes things look. It's like his jog is significantly faster than everyone else's sprint. Sure, this was against UC Davis, so this 44-yard touchdown reception might be the type of play one might expect for a future NFL receiver, but it's worth appreciating. Put Montgomery in Washington State's offense and what does he go for? 100 catches, 1,500 yards? More?
True freshman Christian McCaffrey will make an impact. I was admittedly a little surprised in training camp when David Shaw announced McCaffrey wouldn’t redshirt. It just seemed like there were enough bodies to account for anything he would be able to provide this year. Still think that holds true to some extent, but McCaffrey made an impact in several ways in the opener. He had three tackles on special teams as a gunner and went 52 yards untouched on his first touch for a touchdown and nearly broke a punt return for another.
Passing game ahead of running game. Take Montgomery out of the equation and Stanford still is more advanced throwing the ball than running it. At least so far. With the starters in the game in the first half, Stanford had 70 yards rushing (on 14 attempts) and 204 yards passing as quarterback Kevin Hogan connected on 12-of-15 passes. That’ll probably trend in the other direction eventually, but Shaw and offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren will continue to take advantage of Hogan’s ability to throw the deep ball with a talented group of receivers. Last year, Hogan completed more passes that traveled 30 yards or more in the air than any quarterback in the country (17) despite ranking just 48th in total attempts nationally. Expect more passes like Michael Rector.