The Michigan State Spartan football team has the most wins in the big 10 since 2008 and the 7th most wins of any FBS school since 2010. Over the last two seasons a lot of that has stemmed from the Spartans premiere running back, Le’Veon Bell.
2012 was a little bit of a struggle finished 6-6 in a season with high pre-season expectations but the junior running back came to play night in and night out averaging a little more than 137 yards per game with 11 touchdowns on the year.
TCU, who is the Spartans opponent in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, is known for their defense and was the best defense in the Big 12 this season. Without question their sights will be on number 24 in the back field. Bell knows it and embraces that mentality from opposing teams.
“I look at every game as a great challenge,” said Bell. “I know guys are going to come in and focus on stopping the run and I look at it as a challenge…I am not going to let it happen.”
“He’s got a high football IQ,” mentioned Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar. “He’s got a great work ethic, he’s a very physical runner…He looks like he is making some moves that he made last year that we are yet to see this year.”
The physical nature of his play because of his great 6’2” 237 pound frame before the season is what made him the star that he has become. But now Bell has dropped weight going into the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl matchup with TCU to make himself a fast runner as well. Bell said that his target weight was 232 but going into the Bowl game, he is at 234. And he is feeling the benefits.
“I feel quicker, a lot faster, I feel my explosiveness,” explained Bell.
The combination of power and this improved speed and quickness makes Bell an even more attractive pro prospect in the future. Bell mentioned his goal to drop weight to gain speed and explosiveness but for now during his team with Michigan State, he is looking toward one thing.
“I just want to go out there and play hard,” added Bell. “There is nothing really that I am looking to improve on in this short period.”
In a week where the people of East Lancing, Michigan are expecting six to 8 inches of snow, Bell is enjoying the weather Arizona has to offer.
“I am really enjoying the weather out here,” said Bell. “It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold. It’s perfect.”
Bell and the Spartans square off against the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.