Bryce Love, Stanford's Heisman hopeful tailback, will likely be available to play this weekend against WSU
Running back Bryce Love has been the motor of the Stanford offense all season, and the Cardinal got a taste of how tough life can be without Love last week, when he sat out the Oregon State game with an ankle injury.
Stanford trailed the Beavers — the Pac-12’s only team that has yet to win a conference game — 14-9 until quarterback Keller Chryst hit J.J. Whiteside on a game-winning touchdown pass with 20 seconds left.
The 18th-ranked Cardinal plays 25th-ranked Washington State on Saturday in Pullman on what will be Senior Day for the Cougars.
Love is “feeling better this week than last week,” Stanford coach David Shaw said Tuesday. However, the Cardinal’s Heisman hopeful running back will “probably be a game time decision,” Shaw said.
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“He’s not necessarily ready to practice today, but he’s with the training staff trying to get ready, and hopefully he can go on Saturday,” Shaw said.
Love has emerged as one of the most electric players in college football. Love, a junior, is averaging a nation-best 198.1 rush yards per game, and he’s accounted for 11 of the Cardinal’s 33 offensive touchdowns.
“He’s a good running back in a conference full of good running backs,” WSU coach Mike Leach said.
The Cougars are coming off a tough loss to Arizona in which they gave up a season-high 328 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns to Wildcats’ phenom quarterback Khalil Tate and running backs J.J. Taylor and Zach Green.
The key to a WSU victory Saturday is stopping Love if he plays.
“The biggest thing is, we’ve gotta play well against the run and stop the run,” Leach said. “Stanford is not a group that’s gonna play the option, but we’ve got to be good against the run game, which other than last week, we have been.”
Love, 5-foot-10, 196-pounds, is a former national USA Track and Field record holder in the 13/14-year-old boys in the 100 and 200 meters. He has caused problems for every team he has played against.
The Oregon defense performed best against Love this season, and even it allowed 147 rushing yards to Stanford’s bowling ball.
Without Love last week, Stanford’s Cameron Scarlett and Trevor Speights combined for 82 yards on 22 carries — a season-low single game rushing total for the Cardinal.