Stanford RB Bryce Love out vs. Oregon State

In this Oct. 14, 2017, file photo, Stanford’s Bryce Love, left, breaks free for a long touchdown against Oregon during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif. Love tweaked an ankle against Oregon and is a game-time decision for their game Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore . (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)

Stanford running back Bryce Love will not play Thursday night at Oregon State.

Love, the nation’s leading rusher and one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy, has been nursing an ankle injury. Stanford head coach David Shaw told ESPN’s Laura Rutledge that the coaches weren’t sure Love could be effective playing with the injury.

Love injured the ankle early in the third quarter of the Cardinal’s win over Oregon on Oct. 14. Stanford had a bye last week, but evidently could not get the ankle back where it needed to be, even with the extra time between games. Shaw said throughout the week that Love would be a gametime decision.

No. 20 Stanford (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12) should be just fine against Oregon State (1-6, 0-4) without Love, but facing the Beavers would have been a big chance for Love’s Heisman candidacy. Love leads the nation with 1,387 yards on 135 carries, but has played many of his games late at night. He hasn’t been as visible as Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, who is considered the frontrunner for the Heisman. Thursday night’s game would have allowed Love to potentially put on a show against Oregon State, which allows an average of 200.1 rushing yards per game, during the night’s marquee game.

After playing Oregon State, Stanford begins a tough stretch to finish out the regular season. Three of the team’s last four games come against ranked opponents, Washington State, Washington and Notre Dame.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!