Usually, it’s difficult for teams to replace a Heisman contender when he makes the jump to NFL. For Stanford, the transition from the Christian McCaffrey era couldn’t have gone any smoother—at least in the ground game.
Junior tailback Bryce Love averaged more than seven yards per carry in the past two seasons as McCaffrey’s backup. In his first campaign as a starter, though, he’s been even more electric than his gaudy totals as the change-of-pace back.
Against Arizona State in a 34-24 win on Saturday, Love rushed for 301 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. He had touchdown runs of 61, 43 and 59 yards. He extended his streak to seven consecutive games with a touchdown run of at least 50 yards. He broke Stanford’s single-game rushing record—previously held by McCaffrey—yet his 12.1 yards per carry was his third-best mark in that metric this season. Seriously.
The former track star also became the first player in college football to accumulate 1,000 rushing yards on the season, eclipsing the mark on his 87th carry of the season. If reaching 1,000 yards on 87 carries sounds absurd, that’s because it is.
Love has rushed for at least 160 yards and a touchdown on the ground in all five of Stanford’s games in 2017, and his lowest YPC thus far was 8.8 against UCLA—a contest that he scampered for 263 yards.
His numbers on the season are now sitting at 1,088 rushing yards on 98 carries for an otherworldly 11.1 YPC. That is the most rushing yards after five games over the last 20 seasons. He is on pace to shatter Barry Sanders’s single-season record of 2,628 rushing yards.
Love's historic September will certainly vault him up Heisman watch lists and NFL draft boards. College football fans should just consider themselves lucky that they are witnessing a player this exhilarating putting up video-game numbers.