STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — When Bryce Love aggravated his injured ankle in the first half and had to go to the sideline to get checked out, Stanford coach David Shaw wasn’t sure how much he’d be able to get out of his star running back.
Love showed he had plenty left in the latest signature performance in his campaign for the Heisman Trophy.
Love ran 30 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns on the gimpy ankle against the nation’s stingiest defense, leading Stanford to a 30-22 victory over No. 9 Washington on Friday night.
“He goes out there from start to finish and pours his heart out for his teammates,” Shaw said. “I don’t’ know if you could ask anything more of a football player. I don’t know if you can find a better football player in America than Bryce Love.”
Love has not had a full practice in about a month for Stanford (7-3, 6-2 Pac-12) since injuring the ankle four weeks ago against Oregon. His missed one game with the injury and was held to 69 yards last week in a loss at Washington State.
But he gutted it out against a Huskies defense that came into the game ranked first in the nation in yards allowed and second in scoring defense.
“I definitely felt like I was getting in more of a groove throughout,” Love said. “Just seeing things better, feeling a little bit better and just knowing things would open up.”
While he failed to extend his streak of games with a run of at least 50 yards to 11 games, he helped Stanford control the clock and delivered a couple of big runs late. Quarterback K.J. Costello said he had to ask Love if he was OK a few times in the first half.
“Then I watched him run and I was like ‘Dang, I think he’s all right,'” Costello said. “I don’t know what he’s got inside but it’s something real. He’s a grinder, that’s for sure.”
The Huskies (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12, No. 9 CFP) started fast with touchdown runs by Myles Gaskin on the first two drives but stalled after that in a crippling blow to their hopes of getting back to the four-team playoff.
“We had not had fast starts on the road and we did that and then went stagnant for two quarters,” coach Chris Petersen said.
Washington: The Huskies used an up-tempo offense to drive 88 and 89 yards for touchdowns on their first two drives before getting stopped on a fourth-and-1 from the Stanford 19 on the third possession. Washington had only two first downs on the next five drives as the Cardinal adjusted and took control of the game. Gaskin, who ran for 120 yards, added his third TD with 4:22 left to tie Bishop Sankey’s school record with 37 career touchdown runs.
“Now we’re going to find out who rallies and who will roll over and die,” quarterback Jake Browning said. “Personally I think we’re going to rally.”
Stanford: The Cardinal trusted Costello more this week and he delivered with a pair of 39-yard passes to JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the first half for the two longest offensive plays of the season against the Huskies. Those set up a 2-yard TD run by Love and one of Jet Toner’s three field goals. Costello converted six third downs through the air on the night and threw for a career-high 211 yards after having 105 a week ago.
“I put that completely on myself,” Shaw said. “I think we were a little too conservative. We have to mix it up and we mixed it up today.”
Stanford and Washington State are in control of the Pac-12 North race. The Cougars can clinch a spot in the conference title game with wins at Utah and Washington in the final two games. The Cardinal will go with a win next week against California and one loss by the Cougars. The Huskies need to win their final two games and hope Stanford loses next week.
CATCHING POP WARNER
Shaw joined some illustrious company by winning his 71st game in seven seasons at Stanford. He tied Glenn “Pop” Warner’s school record set for wins sent from 1924-32.
The Huskies will drop out of the top 10 next week while the Cardinal should get back into the poll.
Washington: Hosts Utah on Nov. 18.
Stanford: Hosts California on Nov. 18.
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