STANFORD, Calif. — Tyler Gaffney ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, Anthony Wilkerson had 68 yards and another score, and No. 5 Stanford started strong in a 42-28 victory over No. 23 Arizona State on Saturday night in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
The defending conference champions controlled every facet of the game to turn the only matchup between ranked opponents this week into a 29-0 halftime lead. The Cardinal (3-0, 1-0) scored in the air and on the ground, forced two turnovers, blocked two punts, tallied 10 tackles for loss and recorded three sacks.
Taylor Kelly threw for 367 yards, including three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, and Jaelen Strong caught 12 passes for 168 yards and a score in an otherwise disappointing showing for the Sun Devils (2-1, 0-1).
Arizona State beat Big Ten champion Wisconsin in a controversial finish last week in the desert.
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Stanford showed more diversity on both sides of the ball than it had in solid, but not overwhelming, victories against San Jose State and Army. The Cardinal’s funky formations and disguised defenses had the Sun Devils dazed and dizzy, again displaying the disparity between the past four league champions — Stanford and Oregon — and everybody else.
Kevin Hogan completed 11 of 17 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns to Ty Montgomery to lift Stanford to its 11th straight victory. Montgomery, held without a touchdown last season after being slowed by a nagging knee injury, finished with four catches for 62 yards. He has at least one touchdown in every game.
Cardinal contributions came from all over.
Gaffney ran for a short TD after Devon Cajuste’s diving, 34-yard reception. Wilkerson scampered 13 yards for another score, and Montgomery sliced up the middle for an easy 30-yard touchdown.
The Cardinal capped off the one-sided start when Blake Lueders blocked his man into the punter. The ball deflected into the end zone and was kicked out for a safety to give Stanford a 29-0 halftime lead.
Ben Gardner blocked a surprise punt by Kelly, and Gaffney followed with a 16-yard TD run to give Stanford a 39-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Kelly three late TD passes made the game look closer than it was.