Chippewas prepare for Le’Veon Bell and strong Spartan running attack
What they saw was junior halfback Le’Veon Bell carrying the ball 44 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns against No. 24 Boise State. He also had six receptions for 55 yards out of the backfield.
“They execute well, they’re big and have experience up front,” sophomore linebacker Justin Cherocci said. “Bell is the same as any back; we’re going to hit him low, bring him down and gang tackle him.”
Now, Bell didn’t just come out of nowhere. Bell had a solid performance against the Chippewas last season with 81 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just eight carries.
The Spartans, as a team, rushed for 197 yards last season in its 45-7 blowout of CMU at Spartan Stadium.
“MSU is a good team, and Bell runs the ball tough,” senior defensive back Jahleel Addae said. “We know that, and we’re up for the challenge.”
One reason Bell had the day he did against the Broncos was because MSU needed him to carry the load with junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell making his first start. Maxwell threw three interceptions in his first start, while completing 22-of-38 passes for 248 yards.
“We’re not going to overlook Maxwell,” Cherocci said. “But they’re more one dimensional. They like to run the ball, and we’ll see how he does under pressure.”
So how is CMU, a team that gave up 188 rushing yards against FCS Southeast Missouri State, expected to contain a back that came 52 yards shy of 1,000 yards last season?
“We just need to be physical,” Addae said. “The line has to win up front. They have a good offensive line and a good running back, but we have good players, too.”
By playing on Thursday, the Chippewas have a couple extra days to prepare for Bell and the Spartans’ run attack before Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup.
“We get extra film time, which will help,” Addae said. “Everyone has to do their job, and (we) can’t get caught up in the hype.”
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