Bryce Love makes Heisman statement with three TDs vs. Washington

ByKyle Bonagura ESPN logo
Sunday, November 12, 2017

STANFORD, Calif. -- Stanfordcoach David Shaw made sure he distributed praise across the board after his team's 30-22winover No. 9 Washingtonon Friday night. One by one, he listed them off: the offensive line, the coordinators, his quarterback, his opponent, and so on.

Then there was an abrupt stop.

"Oh, and then there's Bryce Love," Shaw said, referring to the Cardinal running back. "He played on one leg and played a phenomenal game. I'm not gonna mention any awards, but if he doesn't win 'em all, then I don't know what's going on. This guy is unbelievable."

Love, a junior, kept himself in the Heisman Trophy conversation by rushing for 166 yards on 30 carries and scoring three touchdowns.He did so against a Huskies defense that had allowed only three rushing touchdowns all season, all of them 1-yard runs, and hadn't allowed any team to score more than two touchdowns in a single game.

Love hasn't completed a full practice in over a month due to an ankle injury and he aggravated it again Friday night. It didn't matter. Against the nation's top-ranked defense, Love wasn't staying out of the game for long. He was sidelined briefly a couple of times to get his ankle re-taped, but somehow got better as the game went along.

"He pours his heart out for his teammates," Shaw said. "I don't know if you could ask for anything more of a football player. I don't know if you could find a better football player in America than Bryce Love."

Love's three scores -- on runs of 1, 13 and 9 yards -- bring his total this season to 15, tied for sixth nationally. His final carry of the night was his longest: an important 35-yard run as the Cardinal (7-3, 6-2 Pac-12) tried to kill off the game.

"I definitely felt like I was getting in more of a groove [as the game progressed]," Love said. "Just seeing things better, feeling a little better, just knowing things would open up."

Love's big performance helped keep the Cardinal in contention for the Pac-12 title. He has rushed for 1,622 yards on the season, which ranks fourth on Stanford's single-season list.