After missing last weekend’s game against Oregon State, Stanford Cardinal running back Bryce Love is slated to return from his ankle injury.
Love had amassed 1,387 rushing yards before his ankle injury and is still leading college football in rushing yards after a week absence. The Cardinal managed to grab a victory while he was gone, but barely edged out Oregon State 15-14 and struggled mightily without their star back.
Now against the Washington State Cougars, they not only will have Love in, but also start second year man K.J. Costello at quarterback. Assuming Love is even 80 percent healthy on Saturday, this slides the game back in the favor of the Cardinal. The offense obviously is better with Love on the field, so is it enough to lift the Cardinal over the Cougars?
The Cougars let up 141.2 rushing yards per game and will try to put this in Costello’s hands. However, both Oregon and San Diego State let up less than 140 yards per game rushing, two teams that Love tore into while scoring two touchdowns.
This game really does not depend on who is starting at quarterback, as both Keller Chryst and Costello have fairly similar games, which means that the game rests heavily on Love and the running attack.
While Love is still coming off the injury, young running back Trevor Speights has looked good in coming in as a spot player, showing himself to be a downhill runner. The backfield of Love, Speights and Cameron Scarlett can create just enough of a rotating backfield to keep Love fresh.
While Costello and Chryst have roughly the same playing style, Costello has yet to throw an interception. In his half game against UCLA and his start against Arizona State, he has 296 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Their will be just enough around Love to keep the entire load off his shoulders, giving him plenty of opportunity to rumble for another big performance.