Sep 7, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -
The Cardinal's vaunted defense sacked David Fales four times, held the Spartans (1-1) to 35 yards rushing. Fales completed 29 of 43 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown with one interception.
With almost every starter back from the Pac-12's top defense, most of the questions for Stanford revolved around all new starters at the offensive skill positions: running back, wide receiver and tight end.
For all the new faces on offense, the defense really carried the Cardinal most of the way.
The Cardinal controlled the flow from start to finish, something they failed to do while squeaking out a 20-17 victory over the Spartans in last season's opener when they underestimated the upstart school.
Fales, who led the nation with a 72.5 percent completion percentage last season, is back along with several key starters return from a team that won a school-record tying 11 games, earned the first national ranking since 1975 and got the sixth bowl win in the program's history to make sure the Spartans will no longer be overlooked as they moved into the Mountain West Conference.
Both teams entered the game on eight-game winning streaks.
Now Stanford stands alone.
The Cardinal forced Fales to throw mostly short and intermediate passes, and the Spartans offense struggled to finish drives. Fales finally found Noel Grigsby for a 13-yard touchdown that sliced Stanford's lead to 27-13 late in the third quarter.
He directed drives inside Stanford's 20 twice in the first half that stalled. Austin Lopez kicked field goals of 30 and 22 yards to slice Stanford's lead to 17-6 at the half.
The one major mistake Stanford made, its defense quickly corrected.
Backup quarterback Dallas Lloyd lost the ball on a play-action keeper, and Foloi Vae recovered at San Jose State's 33. Four plays later, Ed Reynolds intercepted a pass from Fales - just as he did in the fourth quarter last season - to give Stanford its 25th straight game with a least one takeaway, the longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Jordan Williamson made field goals of 48 and 40 yards for Stanford. He also missed wide left from 52 yards.
The Spartans are 0-21 against ranked teams since a 27-24 victory over No. 9 TCU on Nov. 4, 2000. That's also the highest-ranked team San Jose State has ever beaten.
Stanford and San Jose State, located about 20 miles apart, are not scheduled to play again.