A 159 yard performance from Stanford junior running back Bryce Love led the Stanford Cardinal (2-2) to a 24-17 lead over the Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2) at the half in Palo Alto.
Love quickly showed why he’s one of the best backs in the country during the Cardinal’s first drive, finding a huge gap in the defensive line and exploding through it for a 61-yard touchdown to give Stanford an early 7-0 lead just over 90 seconds into the first quarter.
The Cardinal were just a few yards away from doubling to their lead on their next possession before senior linebacker J’Marcus Rhodes made a heads-up defensive play to force a turnover.
Stanford sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello found tight end Dalton Schultz wide open over the middle for a gain of 31 yards, but Rhodes was able to punch the ball out before Schultz reached the ground and give ASU the ball at its own 2-yard line.
Sophomore receiver Kyle Williams gave the Devils a huge boost on the second play of ASU’s following drive, taking a handoff down the sidelines for 49 yards to the Stanford 46-yard line. A couple quick passes from Wilkins and short runs from both Ballage and Richard put Arizona State inside the Stanford 15, but Wilkins was sacked and the Devils were forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 7-3.
Love would reach the 100-yard rush mark early in the second quarter with a 43-yard touchdown run that extended the Cardinal lead to 14-3.
Arizona State answered with with a 14 play, 75 yard touchdown drive that was capped by a three-yard score from Richard. He took the snap, rolled right and powered his way into the end zone to once again cut the deficit to 14-10.
On the ensuing drive, Love gained 54 of the Cardinals 75 yards as Stanford marched down the field and scored on a touchdown pass from Costello to JJ Arcega-Whiteside, extending Stanford’s lead to 21-10.
On its final drive of the half, Arizona State opened the playbook and showcased a flea-flicker, multiple running back direct snaps and even a receiver touchdown pass to close the gap to 21-17.
With the Sun Devils driving just outside the Cardinal’s red zone and just under two minutes to go in the half, Harry took a direct snap, rolled right and threw a touchdown pass to a wide open Ceejhay French-Love.
Stanford answered just before the stroke of halftime with a couple of long completions by Costello that put the Cardinal on the four yard line. Costello took a couple shots at the end zone but strong coverage from redshirt freshman Chase Lucas and sophomore Kobe Williams forced the Cardinal to settle for a field goal, extending the Stanford lead to 24-17 at the half.