STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Bryce Love escaped from the shadow of Christian McCaffrey in the same way he escaped from rival defenses, with an impressive speed that has taken him to New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
After spending two years as an understudy, Love applied the lessons he learned as he watched McCaffrey set records and put his own spin on such a spectacular season in his way as McCaffrey was on the road to a Heisman finalist in 2015.  "I was always surprised by a lot of things he was doing," said Love. "Obviously, being the caliber of the player he was, it was good to sit down and learn the little things from him, how he approached everything, how he attacked everything was really incredible, how he prepared himself week after week, I was lucky to see the things that I had the good fortune to learn from him "
Love delivered his own inspiring performances for Stanford to win a trip to New York as a finalist for Heisman with the Oklahoma field marshal Baker Mayfield and last year's winner, Field Marshal Lamar Jackson of Louisville.
Love established himself as an early candidate by running for 564 yards in consecutive victories over UCLA and Arizona State. He continued adding those numbers and leading all Power 5 runners in rushing yards (1,973), yards per carry (8.3) and 100-yard games (11), and also set an FBS record with 12 runs of at least 50 yards.
"It's amazing to have someone there who takes advantage of the little folds you give him and is able to do something special with the ball," offensive lineman AT Hall said.
The only thing that managed to slow down Love down was a sprained ankle suffered on October 14 against Oregon that hindered him the rest of the season.
Love missed a game against Oregon State and then played through the pain for the last five games. He still exceeded the 100-yard mark in his last four contests, including three against teams that finished the regular season in the top 15 of the AP poll, and helped the Cardinal make the title game Pac-12 in which he lost to the USC.  "He's a tough human being, he loves to play, and he's outstanding at that," coach David Shaw said. "Having said that, he has surpassed many soccer teams with an ankle and a half … That is a combination of skill, toughness, heart, character, all those things in one, and I have so much respect for what he is as a man. and for what it is as a soccer player. "
Love showed flashes of his skill in the previous two years when he backed McCaffrey. He had only 163 offensive touches in his first two seasons, but averaged 7.2 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns, all but one in plays that went at least 45 yards.
So when it took off after becoming the return feature for the Cardinal, the success it had was a little surprise.
"You only see an explosiveness from the first day," said 49ers defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, who was at Stanford during the first two seasons of Love. "You could see how fast he was and how fast he was, his speed is ridiculous, nobody has speed like that, he has put everything together and the way he puts the first juke on someone is just amazing."
That speed has always been there. Love set several records of track and field age groups in the United States while growing up in North Carolina and earned the nickname "Baby Bolt" compared to Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.
That speed caught Stanford's attention and he decided to come to The Farm where he could play soccer and also pursue his other goal as a pediatrician as a human biology specialist who likes to spend his time away from football in a stem cell lab along with the doctorate candidates.
"I raise my arm around this guy and I put him in front of anyone, not mentioning what he does academically," Shaw said. "You know, the guys we have here, I'm so proud of all of them, Bryce in particular, of being that young man they want college football to be, and they want to point out and say, to my two little kids that I have and I say, I know like him "
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