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A Love for the Ages

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Bryce Love breaks Stanford’s single-game rushing record, going for 301 on the ground against the Sun Devils

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Yet again, Bryce Love was the best player on the football field this past Saturday, rushing 25 times for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 34-24 home win over ASU. The Stanford faithful were treated to a historic day on The Farm, one where Love surpassed the incomparable Christian McCaffrey, who held the previous school rushing record of 284 yards against Cal in ’16.

Love scored touchdowns on runs of 61, 59, and 43 yards respectively, leaving the Cardinal fans, and even his own head coach, amazed. “I’ve never seen anything like that, ever,” Shaw said after the game. “That was unbelievable.”

It was not as if the Sun Devils failed to show fight, coming off a win versus a ranked Oregon team, they were in this game right up to the end. ASU linebackers and safeties were in the running lanes all day, Bryce Love was simply too shifty, and far too fast.

The Heisman hopeful now has 1,088 rushing yards in 5 games thus far, that is the 3rd most in the history of D-1 college football at this point in the season. Furthermore, he is averaging a mind-blowing 11.1 yards per carry, and has 8 touchdowns already this season. Stanford need only stick to the game plan going forward, which is, in the immortal words of Led Zeppelin, a “Whole Lotta’ Love.”

Another standout for the Cardinal offense was sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello (15 for 23 completions / 173 yards / 1 TD / 88.1 QBR), who in his first college start, seemed comfortable and even calculated behind center. There were two impressive check-downs that he made in the 1st Quarter, both times changing from a run to a pass play, and both times completing the pass for a first down to keep a drive alive. These were reads that Chryst was not making early in the season, and that Burns was unable to make against SDSU. In any case, Costello’s future on The Farm looks very bright by my measure.

Defensively, junior safety Justin Reid (9 tackles / 2 interceptions / 1 tfl) brought all the intensity needed for Stanford to secure this victory. The younger brother of NFL Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid (49ers), Justin already looks ready to be playing alongside his brother on Sundays. He was everywhere against the Sun Devils, and did a great job on the back end of disguising his coverages and reads.

Senior linebackers Jordan Perez and Joey Alfieri also had strong performances for the Cardinal, both registering 8 tackles on the day, and causing consistent havoc in the ASU backfield. The talented Sun Devils (2-3) offense was never able to get rolling for any stretch of time in the contest, and has their hands full again next week when they host the #6 ranked Washington Huskies (5-0).

Stanford (3-2) travels to Salt Lake City on Saturday to face the #20 Utah Utes (4-0), who are always a formidable foe at home. The nice thing about this team however, is that as long as Bryce Love is on the field, Stanford has a puncher’s chance.