When rumors from earlier in the week were confirmed just prior to kickoff Thursday night, the thinking was that Bryce Love missing Stanford’s game against Oregon State because of injury could very well have torpedoed his Heisman Trophy hopes. In the end, his absence may have only bolstered said hopes.

Sans Love, No. 20 Stanford could, embarrassingly, do almost nothing on the offensive side of the ball against a 1-6 Oregon State team that had its head coach quit on it earlier this month, with the Cardinal heading back to The Farm with a 15-14 win. Stanford trailed from the middle of the second quarter until a Kellen Chryst touchdown pass with 20 seconds remaining in the game allowed the Cardinal to steal what most would consider an undeserved road win.

Even in a win, the loss of Love magnified just how important the running back is to a team that has now won five straight after losing two in a row.