Dak Prescott, Michael Gallup make emphatic opening statement

Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) celebrates after a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium.Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers stole a 24-21 victory over Dallas in the preseason opener, but the Cowboys still earned good marks.

Although the 49ers technically won the preseason opener over the Cowboys last night, 24-21, at Levi Stadium, most people who followed the action probably went to bed around midnight Central Time thinking it was a Dallas victory.

And in one very real way, it was.

The way the Cowboys started the game, taking the opening kickoff and driving 75 yards for a touchdown, offered an outstanding first response to the questions surrounding the Dallas offense, and the passing game in particular.

Quarterback Dak Prescott finished the drive by going up top to rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup for a 30-yard touchdown.

"Every kid dreams of that," Gallup said about his first pro football touchdown. "I was excited, still excited. You know, catch touchdowns. That’s what you do."

That was Gallup's only catch of the night, but it was a memorable one. Meanwhile, Tavon Austin had two catches for 25 yards — both coming during the Cowboys' second scoring drive — and tight end Blake Jarwin made a pair of receptions for 21 yards.

On the defensive side, Leighton Vander Esch made four solo tackles in his first NFL game. He looked comfortable directing the defense from his middle linebacker spot. But linebacker Joe Thomas had the most eye-catching night as he made a team-leading five tackles and came up with a second-quarter interception.