Last Updated: 2018-01-16
Even with all of the head coaching hires in the PAC-12, the biggest offseason move might be with the Stanford Cardinal. Running back Bryce Love has decided to remain with the Cardinal for his senior season. Instantly, he becomes the most recognizable name in the sport. As a result, Love will enter the 2018 season as the Heisman front runner. That doesn’t always workout, but the Cardinal certainly look like a College Football Playoff hopeful next season.
Love followed in the footsteps of Christian McCaffrey, and gained 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2017. He averaged 8.1 yards per carry. However, Love’s numbers paled in comparison to what they would have been if he remained healthy all season long. He injured his ankle in the first half of a win over the Oregon Ducks. As a result, Love was never the same for the rest of the season.
For example, Love averaged at least 7.6 yards per carry in every game during the first seven weeks. After the injury, he only had a high of 7.2 yards per carry against the California Bears. In fact, Love averaged below six yards per carry in 4 of the last 6 games. For mere mortals, the numbers were great. For a player like Love, you didn’t need to see him limping to know that his ankle was a legitimate problem. Yet, Love would never make an excuse for his decrease in production.
In total, he has 3,126 yards and 24 touchdowns on 403 rushing attempts. That means Love is only averaging 134 carries per season. Therefore, he really hasn’t been overworked in a Stanford uniform. Keep in mind, McCaffrey had 632 rushing attempts in three seasons with the Cardinal. He also caught 99 passes.
Love has 29 receptions for 366 yards and 2 touchdowns in his career. So far, Love has not displayed the same ability as McCaffrey to be a pass catcher, but it’s something that the Cardinal can utilize next season in the maturation process.
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