For whom the Bell tolls: CSU running back makes noise in MWC

When you think of top college running backs, athletes such as Reggie Bush, Adrian Peterson, Laurence Maroney and DeAngelo Williams probably come to mind. But what about Kyle Bell?

After four games, the Rams sophomore is 11th in the nation in yards per game (116.0) Most of those yards come from the last two games, in which he rushed for a combined 380 yards.

“He just came out of nowhere,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He’s a tough north and south runner, a typical prototype (CSU head coach) Sonny Lubick tailback, and he’s getting it done.”

Bell’s recent success came when the Rams needed it most. After losing their first two games to Colorado and Minnesota, the Rams’ offense exploded behind Bell and quarterback Justin Holland in victories over Nevada and Air Force.

“They’re doing some very good things offensively,” Whittingham said. “They should feel good about themselves; they’re playing well right now.”

The Rams team, which has been successful over the last two games, looks like a new squad compared with the team that struggled in its first two contests.

After leading Colorado 21-10 at the end of the third quarter in their season opener, the Rams surrendered 18 straight points to fall behind 28-21. They then tied the game with just 36 seconds left but allowed Colorado to march down the field and kick a 47-yard field goal that won the game.

Justin Holland struggled, throwing four costly interceptions-three in the fourth quarter-and the Rams never really got their rushing game going.

The next week, Minnesota thumped them, 56-24, a poor rushing attack and weak defense keeping them out of contention for most of the game.

Things quickly changed when the Rams played Nevada. Kyle Bell carried the ball 33 times for 183 yards, and Holland shook off his rust from the prior two games and threw for three touchdowns with no interceptions.

In the following week, the offense continued to roll against Air Force in the Ram’s first conference game. Bell had his second straight big day on the ground, carrying the ball 32 times for 197 yards and three touchdowns.

Holland threw another three touchdowns and had one interception, throwing for 318 yards in the game.

The Rams will now prepare to meet Utah with an additional three days of rest, which they will likely spend revamping their defense.

Although they have the top offense in the Mountain West Conference, their defense ranks dead last. The Rams are particularly weak at stopping the run-they have allowed opponents an average of 197.5 yards per game.

“They’re probably better than their numbers indicate,” Whittingham said of the defense.

The game against Minnesota certainly skewed the team’s defensive numbers. They allowed 355 yards on the ground against the Golden Gophers.

The Utes aren’t much better defending the run at 166.2 yards per game, so this game should feature a lot of points and a lot of running.

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