STANFORD —The last major college team to start the season made a positive fist impression.

Stanford dominated San Jose State on Saturday night, scoring on its first two possessions and cruising to a 34-13 victory before an announced crowd of 50,424 -- the largest at Stanford Stadium since 2008.

The fifth-ranked Cardinal jumped to a 14-3 lead and held a 21-point advantage late in the third quarter.

As soon as SJSU made things interesting (down 14 with the ball), Stanford reclaimed the momentum and sealed its sixth consecutive victory over SJSU in the last scheduled game in the series.

The Cardinal (1-0) wasn't in midseason form, but nor did it commit the number of mistakes usually seen in season openers.

It had just one turnover (by backup quarterback Dallas Lloyd), only two penalties and converted 80 percent of its third-down opportunities.

The tackling was erratic, but Stanford didn't allow a play longer than 18 yards, stuffed SJSU on third down and held the Spartans to one red zone touchdown in four attempts.

"We played great red zone defense, which has to be one of our calling cards,'' Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We don't worry about what happens between the 20s.''

The Cardinal's vaunted pass rush was as good as it needed to be, sacking SJSU quarterback David Fales four times and pressuring him repeatedly.

Fales completed 29 of 43 passes but managed just 216 yards -- the lowest total of his SJSU career. He was intercepted once, but it came at the worst possible time for SJSU.

The Spartans had closed the deficit to 14 points and regained possession after a Stanford fumble. On second down at the 37, Fales dropped into the pocket and was pressured by Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov. The ball fluttered toward the right sideline and corralled by Cardinal safety Ed Reynolds near midfield.

Five plays later, Stanford scored to push the lead back to 21 points.

"Shayne pressured him and made the ball float, and I just went and got it,'' said Reynolds, who has seven career interceptions. "It was a team effort.''

Stanford's running game showed no signs of backsliding following the departure of Stepfan Taylor, the school's career rushing leader.

Tyler Gaffney, who missed last season while playing in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, churned for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

"The first drive, I was light-headed, didn't have my legs -- there were some butterflies,'' he said. "After that, I felt more comfortable.''

Ty Montgomery, the most experienced member of a receiving unit that has much to prove, had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Devon Cajuste, who started opposite Montgomery, added three catches and hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass.

  • Stanford is 33-8 since the start of the 2009 season.

  • The Cardinal has won 27 of its last 28 games in the state of California. The only loss: to Oregon in 2011.

    For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.