The Heisman Trophy frontrunner fluttered his feet.

And, in a flash, he was gone.

No. 20 Utah had bottled up Bryce Love like no other team had in 2017. For all but one 39-yard scamper in the first half, the Utes defense smothered the Stanford superstar running back. Defensive linemen and linebackers alike smacked Love and seldom allowed him to wiggle out of first contact.

All it took was one huge gap created by the Cardinal offensive line, and naturally, Love took care of the rest. Utah freshman corner back Javelin Guidry could only hopelessly swipe at Love’s heels, but it was too late.

Stanford’s Heisman Trophy candidate scampered off to the races on a 68-yard touchdown that proved to be the haymaker to Utah’s previously-unblemished season in the 23-20 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium Saturday night.

The Utes, it turned out, were the latest of Love’s victims.

“Just missed tackles,” Utah senior linebacker Sunia Tauteoli said. “Just missed tackles.”

The 5-foot-10 junior running back had the final say in the stiffest test of his season, putting the game out of reach. Love finished with 152 yards on 20 carries and the one touchdown. Utah held him in check for most of the night, but as is the case with his breakneck, game-changing ability, a couple of runs made the difference.

“They can all hit. They can all tackle,” Stanford coach David Shaw said of Utah’s defense. “We knew with enough opportunities Bryce Love is going to break one or two of them out, and he did that.”

On 18 carries, the Utes held Love to 45 yards. Those other two? A combined 107.

And for an eighth-straight game, Love had a 50-yard run.

“Their running back is tremendous,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “We held him well below what he usually gets, but not enough.”

Tauteoli finished with a game-high 11 tackles, many of which were on Love. The linebacker credited Love with his ability to shed would-be tacklers.

“He’s a good running back,” Tauteoli said. “I feel like we’re a better defense. We could’ve done a lot better.”

Love’s banner season now features 1,240 yards and nine touchdowns in six games. Utah corralled the Stanford back for much of the night, but as Whittingham said postgame, there was no consolation in the loss.

“Not one bit of a solace in there,” he said. “That’s my short answer.”