Stanford products Christian McCaffrey and Solomon Thomas met, literally, on the field at Levi's Stadium on Sunday as both were making their NFL regular-season debuts in Carolina's 23-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
It was on one of McCaffery's first carries in which Thomas made of his first NFL hits on his former roommate.
"It was great to play against Christian," Thomas said. "He’s a great player, and he obviously showed it today. I’ll talk about it with him, call and laugh about it and have a good time."
McCaffrey rushed for 47 yards on 13 carries and though he did not score, he helped the Panthers on their scoring drives.
"I didn’t play as well as I would’ve liked to, but anytime you can get a win we’re happy," McCaffrey said. "It was good to see Solly. He’s a great friend of mine. I can’t wait to watch him in the future.”
McCaffrey got an up-close and personal look at Thomas as he tried to break a run and was tackled by him.
"It was cool, man. Well, not cool actually," McCaffrey said. "I don’t really think about it when you’re on the field. He’s playing football. I’m playing football. We’re really good friends off the field, but on the field we’re trying to compete.”
McCaffrey was also the Panthers leading receiver, making five catches for 38 yards. He's enjoying working with Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.
"We’re always learning," McCaffrey said. "He’s a guy who’s always in his playbook and the film. Anytime he talks, I’m all ears.”
The two hooked up on an impressive pass play in which Newton avoided pressure and McCaffrey had to ad lib a bit before making the reception.
"When it does break down, you understand where he’s going," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. "If he’s going out to this way, you’ve got to break your route off and come back. And Christian’s got a natural feel for that, much more than a lot of people that have to understand what the quarterback’s looking for.”
Thomas recorded two tackles in the contest.
Carolina hosts the Buffalo Bills on Sunday while the 49ers travel to meet the Seattle Seahawks.