Freshman quarterback Tanner McKee threw for 218 yards and accounted for three touchdowns Saturday night as Stanford pulled away from Vanderbilt just before halftime and cruised to a 41-23 non-conference win in Nashville, Tenn.
McKee completed 19 of 29 passes as the Cardinal (2-1) scored more than 40 points in consecutive games for the first time since November 2018. They were coming off a 42-28 upset last week at Southern Cal.
Stanford finished with 422 total yards, split almost evenly between rushing and passing. It picked up 204 yards on the ground, getting 80 on just seven carries from Austin Jones.
The Commodores (1-2), who were coming off a stirring 24-21 win last week at Colorado State, managed just a field goal in the final 2 1/2 quarters until a last-play touchdown pass from backup quarterback Michael Wright to Cam Johnson.
Starting quarterback Ken Seals completed only 16 of 37 passes for 120 yards for Vanderbilt. Rocko Griffin rushed for a game-high 107 yards on 19 carries.
The teams traded touchdown drives for most of the first half.
Stanford took a 7-0 lead just 2:23 into the game on McKee's 7-yard run, set up by Jones' 61-yard rush. Vanderbilt answered with a march of 5:02, capped by a 1-yard score from Re'Mahn Davis on fourth-and-goal.
The Cardinal made it 14-7 on a 21-yard touchdown run from Nathaniel Peat with 2:52 left in the first quarter, but the Commodores responded with a 14-play, 98-yard drive finished by Seals' 3-yard scoring strike to Devin Boddie, Jr.
However, Stanford took charge by scoring 13 points in the final 1:53 of the half. After Joshua Karty toed a 46-yard field goal, Jimmy Wyrick intercepted Seals to set up a 31-yard field. McKee cashed it in two plays later with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brycen Tremayne.
A 48-yard punt return by Casey Filkins teed up Karty for a 35-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Cardinal a 27-14 halftime lead.
--Field Level Media