Friday night, Le’Veon Bell delivered a performance even the cool handed Zack Morris would be proud of. The entire Michigan State team should thank Bell for bailing them out of Coach Dantonio’s detention. Bell’s exceptional opening act will surely put him in the same Heisman class as Matt Barkley, Montee Ball and Geno Smith. He delivered for his team in every way last night; as a running back, receiver and blind side protection for his new QB Andrew Maxwell.
Of the 90 plays the Spartans ran, Bell’s number was called 50 times. Bell amassed 265 total yards, out-gaining the entire Boise State team by 59 yards! While amassing large numbers and making the highlight of the night by jumping over a Boise State defender, his most important play came when the Spartans needed him most.
Facing a crucial 3rd and six from the Boise State 27 and down by three in the 4th quarter, Bell came back to block a blitzing Boise State defender. That block helped Maxwell deliver a pass to his safety valve of the night, massive 6ft. 5” TE Dion Sims. The pass set up a first and goal for the Spartans at the seven yard line. From there Bell did the rest, going five yards around right end, this time showing off his speed to beat four Boise State defenders to the goal line.
On paper, the Spartans should have won this game going away. A 27-6 score would be more indicative of how dominate the Spartans were statistically, not nearly as close as the actual score of 17-13. Four turnovers, ten penalties for 90 yards and shaky play from first year QB Maxwell kept this game close. The Spartans defense gave up only six points to a school that has had one of the best offenses in college football over the years. True, Boise State went through their own growing pains with first year QB Joe Southwick; nonetheless the statistical domination by the Spartans D is impressive. They allowed only 206 yards to a team that averaged over 480 per game last year.
Turning back to Bell, he showed all the attributes of an All-American candidate, if not Heisman finalist. He exhibited power on his first TD run, elusive moves on numerous occasions, the aforementioned speed and perhaps most importantly his knowledge for the game in picking up the blind side blitz. His presence should help an offense that may have to wait longer than anticipated for Maxwell to mature.
Looking forward, the Spartans can’t expect dominate line play and Bell to carry them to victory over the Big Ten powers that await them. For this night however, Bell’s sound play was enough to start Michigan State’s season on the right note.
About the Author
Written by Andre' Wiegand
A life long Michigan State University Spartan fan! My grandfather played on the Spartan O-Line back in 1951 and my family has been Spartan fans since. 1999 M.S.U. graduate (JMC). Currently live in Grand Rapids, MI with my wife and two sons.