|Le'Veon Bell was held to just 45 yards rushing in the Spartans' loss to Ohio State on Saturday. (AP)|
Much of Ohio State's defensive success on Saturday was predicated on containing Michigan State's most prolific offensive player, Le'Veon Bell. The 6-2, 238-pound bruising running back was held in check throughout the afternoon, rushing for just 45 yards on 17 carries, as the Buckeyes won 17-16. He was largely ineffective on the ground but did have eight catches for 58 yards as Michigan State's second-leading receiver.
The Ohio State front seven, led by defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, routinely got more leverage than their opponents, and crashed into the backfield, leaving Bell with nowhere to run. Making matters worse for the Spartans was that their center, Travis Jackson, left the game in the first half with a broken leg and an injured MCL.
Bell came into the game averaging 5.2 yards per carry and was rushing for 152 yards per game. The Ohio State linebackers (Ryan Shazier and Etienne Sabino in particular) stuffed Bell around the corners and kept him from breaking free into the next level of the Buckeyes' defense. His longest run of the day was just eight yards.
In limiting Bell, Ohio State forced Michigan State to alter its game plan and throw for 42 attempts, Andrew Maxwell's second-most passes on the season.
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.