Monday, September 3, 2012
Player of the Week: Big Ten
By Adam Rittenberg
Week 1 certainly wasn't a great one for the Big Ten overall, but the league saw several outstanding individual performances. None better than Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell on Friday night against Boise State.
Bell carried the Michigan State offense on his brawny back, taking on a two-game workload (50 touches) in one night. He set career highs for rushing attempts (44), rushing yards (210), receptions (six), receiving yards (55) and all-purpose yards (265) in Michigan State's 17-13 victory. As new Spartans starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell struggled with pressure and with touch on his passes, Bell became Michigan State's only consistent offensive weapon, and he delivered time and again.
While Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller might have been more efficient with their production in Week 1, Bell faced by far the best competition of the three in Boise State, which has been among the nation's elite for years. The Broncos gave Michigan State all it could handle Friday night, but Bell wouldn't be denied. He showed his typical power running and also displayed his athleticism, hurdling a Bronco defender in the first quarter and repeatedly finding space in traffic.
If Bell can follow up his Week 1 performance with other big games in Week 3 (Notre Dame) and Week 5 (Ohio State), he should start getting more national attention, perhaps even for the Heisman Trophy.