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Stanford star Bryce Love will skip the Sun Bowl

Love was named the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 2017

USC v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Stanford running back Bryce Love announced on Monday night that he will forgo the Sun Bowl to instead focus on preparations for the 2019 NFL draft. The Cardinal star delivered the news in a message posted on Twitter.

”I will not be playing in our upcoming bowl game and will instead focus on being completely healthy and prepared for the 2019 NFL draft,” Love said in the message. “God has blessed me with an incredible opportunity to play the sport I love at the highest level.”

”It is a surreal feeling to be on the cusp of seeing my dream come true,” he added. “I am completely devoted to this next chapter of my career, and I will always keep the Stanford community, my family and my faith by my side.”

Love had a down year in 2018 compared to a breakout 2017 campaign in which he rushed for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns. That earned him the Doak Walker Award and first-team All-American honors as well as runner-up status in Heisman voting.

Of course, he still managed 739 yards and six touchdowns in an injury-shortened season this year, but he averaged a relatively low 4.5 yards per carry and no longer seemed capable of filling the workhorse role he took on before. In 2017, he managed to accrue 100 or more yards in 12 of 13 games. This time around, he hit the century mark once in 10 games.

With that said, his absence may not have the impact his resume suggests it should. But considering Pitt will field the 86th-ranked rushing defense in the nation in the Sun Bowl and has allowed 184.1 yards per game, it’s probably best that Love won’t be on hand to potentially turn his fortunes around.

Pitt and Stanford are set to face off in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, with kickoff set for 2 p.m. ET.