Bell Earns Pac-10 Honor
Nov. 10, 2003
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Arizona sophomore Mike Bell was named Pacific-10 Conference offensive Player of the Week for his impressive performance Saturday in UA's 27-22 victory over Washington.
Bell, a 6-foot, 211-pound halfback from Phoenix, rushed a career-high 26 times for the fifth-best rushing total in Wildcat history, 222 yards, and three touchdowns on runs of 69, 67 and 37 yards.
His rushing total is the second-best single-game total in the Pac-10 this season, behind the 227 posted by Oregon State's Steven Jackson against California. But Jackson carried the ball nine more times than did Bell, who averaged 8.5 yards per attempt.
Only three Pac-10 running backs ever have rushed for more yards in a game against Washington than Bell did -- DeShaun Foster of UCLA (305 yards vs. the Huskies in 2001), Charles White of USC (243 yards in 1979) and O.J. Simpson of USC (235 yards in 1967). Thurman Thomas of Oklahoma State rambled for 237 yards against Washington in 1985 and Tyrone Wheatley of Michigan put up 235 against the Huskies in the 1993 Rose Bowl.
Bell has 811 yards this year and has averaged more than 200 in each of his past three games. The three touchdown runs were the first by a UA running back in a game since eventual career rushing leader Trung Canidate had three at Washington State in 1999. The school record is four rushing TDs in a game, by several players.
Bell and the Wildcats face a daunting task this week, taking on the No. 2-ranked Southern California Trojans (8-1) and their 'Wild Bunch II' defense, rated best in the league and third nationally against the run, giving up only 68 yards per game.
The Cats and Trojans hook up in Arizona Stadium at 5:10 p.m. Saturday in a game to be televised nationally on TBS by Turner Sports.
Arizona (2-8) last beat a ranked team three seasons ago -- a 31-15 victory over then No. 15 USC in October 2000 in Los Angeles.
Bell was joined by Washington State safety Erik Coleman for the other Player of the Week honors. Coleman was named both defensive and special teams player of the week after posting 10 tackles and creating four turnovers with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He had three kicking team tackles and one of the forced fumbles came on a punt return that WSU recovered and returned 72 yards to set up a score in its 31-13 victory over UCLA.