The Stanford Cardinal got their Pac-12 title defense off to a strong strong with a dominant 45-0 rout of FCS UC Davis on Saturday. While the two-time defending conference champions didn’t figure to be in much danger of losing this game to the overmatched Aggies, there were still plenty of questions about the Cardinal coming into the game to make fans tune in. What they saw had to please them as do-it-all playmaker Ty Montgomery showed that he is ready to put this team on his back and lead them in 2014.
The All-American kick returner’s status had been in doubt for the opener due to offseason shoulder surgery but Montgomery got cleared by team doctors ahead of this one and was a full participant. He put his skills on display with five receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown to go along with his first punt return for a touchdown. Stanford found ways to get the ball into Montgomery’s hands in a variety of way, lining up their senior wide receiver all over the field, including once as a wildcat quarterback.
His performance put to rest many of the concerns people had about his health and whether or not a receiver could be the leader of the Stanford offense. During their resurgence, the Cardinal have been led by physical offensive lines and bruising running backs who grind out wins in the trenches. But with major turnover on the offensive line this offseason and uncertainty abounding in the backfield, Stanford needed to change up their identity a bit this fall, leaning more on third-year starting quarterback Kevin Hogan and the passing game.
With a talent like Ty Montgomery on the edge, the Stanford offense remains dangerous in 2014. His physical gifts are clearly not hampered by his shoulder injury and he is ready to step up and lead this offense. Will he be able to lead them past their first true challenge next week when they face off with the USC Trojans?