STANFORD -- The most-anticipated season in Stanford history began with a performance worthy of the hype.

The Cardinal (1-0) played like a title contender in dispatching San Jose State 34-13 on Saturday.

Stanford's ground-and-pound approach was on full display as it jumped to a 14-3 lead and was never seriously challenged. It rushed for 197 yards, limited the Spartans to 251 total yards and sacked SJSU quarterback David Fales four times.

"There are not a lot of teams that look like us,'' coach David Shaw said of Stanford's old-school style of play.

"We don't live on stats. We don't worry about trying to score as many points as we can. We want to control the ball, score on every possession and play great defense.''

The Cardinal, which held its No. 5 ranking in The Associated Press poll released Sunday, wasn't in midseason form, but it avoided the litany of mistakes usually seen in season openers:

  • It committed just one turnover (by backup quarterback Dallas Lloyd) and two penalties while converting 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.

    "Coverage is going really well, and we had a lot of pressure on the quarterback,'' linebacker Trent Murphy said, "but I wouldn't say we played our best.''

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

    Tyler Gaffney, who missed last season while playing minor league baseball, churned for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

    "The first drive, I was lightheaded, didn't have my legs -- there were some butterflies,'' Gaffney 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 visits Army on Saturday. The game starts at 9 a.m. and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

    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.