Bryce Love makes Heisman statement with three TDs vs. Washington

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STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford coach David Shaw made sure he distributed praise across the board after his team’s 30-22 win over No. 9 Washington on 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.

Washington and the Pac-12 won’t get a return trip to the College Football Playoff after the Huskies’ 30-22 loss Friday, their second of the season.

“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.

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