Stanford RB Bryce Love eclipses 1,000-yard mark in first five games of 2017

With his 301 rushing yards and three touchdowns on Saturday, Bryce Love (L) has established himself as one of the best backs in the country. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The guy who replaced Christian McCaffrey at Stanford is doing things McCaffrey didn’t do with the Cardinal.

Stanford’s Bryce Love ran for 301 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries in the Cardinal’s 34-24 win over Arizona State on Saturday. The game gives Love 1,088 yards before October. Yeah, Stanford started the season in August with a game in Australia vs. Rice, but still, it’s an insanely impressive accomplishment.

Here’s his stat line through those five games:

•  Rice: 13 carries for 180 yards, 1 TD
•  USC: 17-160-1
•  San Diego State: 13-184-2
•  UCLA: 30-263-1
•  Arizona State: 25-301-3

You’ll notice that Love has only broken the 20-carry barrier in the past two games. When you add up his carries he’s only carried the ball 98 times. He’s averaging over 11 yards a carry, four yards more than the eye-popping seven yards a carry he averaged in 2016.

We had Love at No. 3 in our Heisman Watch last week and he’s only going to go up from there this week. With his performance Saturday, Love and Penn State‘s Saquon Barkley have established themselves as the two best backs in the country. If Stanford hadn’t lost to USC and San Diego State, you’d likely have heard a lot more about Love by now.

McCaffrey was the best all-around college football player in 2015 and probably deserved the Heisman over Alabama RB Derrick Henry. While Love doesn’t do all the things McCaffrey does, he’s proving to be just as good or better at running back. If Love keeps this improbable pace up, he’ll deserve the Heisman Trophy too. And it’ll take a massive dropoff in performance over the next seven games to prevent him from being at the ceremony in December.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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