When Stanford has the ball…
It takes an elite player in college to be a household name, and Bryce Love is just that. The 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up has been picked to again be a top contender, but he has yet to live up to the hype.
Love has only 254 yards on 59 attempts with two touchdowns. He did miss one game against UC Davis, which likely would have resulted in a huge rushing day. The entire Stanford rushing attack as a whole hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, as they rank 119th out of 130 teams in rushing yards.
On the other hand, Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello is having himself a pretty nice year. Costello has shown massive improvements after last season. He’s upped his completion percentage by over five percent from 58.8 to 64.0 and will easily double — possibly even triple — his passing yard totals from last season. In 2018, Costello has 1,056 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes with just three picks.
Costello is one of the key players where, if his play improved, he could turn Stanford from Playoff threat to legitimate National Championship contender. He’s done just that, but unfortunately for Stanford, they have yet to get the run game together.
Stanford has one of the most underrated receiving units in the country, lead by ultra talented JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Arcega-Whiteside is second on the team in receptions, but holds a huge lead in receiving yards with 408 (which is 14th in the country) and touchdown catches with an incredible seven. Only Hawaii’s John Ursula has more. At 6-3, 225, he’s a deep threat as well as a jump ball threat, as he has great speed.
Stanford’s tight end, Kaden Smith, shouldn’t be forgotten about either. Taller than Arcega-Whiteside at 6-5, and listed at a 259 pounds, Smith has been called the next Zach Ertz by coach David Shaw.
Smith actually leads the team in catches with 18. He doesn’t have a touchdown catch this year, but has obviously made a huge difference in the passing game. He’s not afraid to take a hit in the middle of the field to make a catch.
Trenton Irwin (15 catches) and Colby Parkinson (3 touchdowns) are two more receiving threats to watch.
Stanford has a very good offensive line, lead by one of the best linemen in the country, Nate Herbig. Herbig is listed at 348 pounds and rarely moves backwards unless he wants to. The entire offensive line has experience, as all five starters from last year are back. This will be one of — if not the toughest — tests of the year for the Notre Dame defensive line.