Most running backs would consider a game where they carried the ball 32 times for 120 yards and a touchdown a pretty good day at the office.
Not Montee Ball, who was adamant about the fact that he expects more out of himself following the game: “If you watch the game, you could see I was a little rusty. If I pick up my feet on a couple runs, I'm gone. I'm out of there.” (via Yahoo! Sports)
It’s understandable that Ball was rusty, given the fact that he was jumped and beaten by multiple attackers during the offseason, forcing him to miss much of camp with his team.
But Ball wasn’t done: "I know, and everyone else should know, that I'm going to come back even stronger next game and it will take off from there.” (via ESPN)
His comments came as a surprise to his head coach, Bret Bielma as well: 'I found it amazing that 120 yards, three receptions and whatever it was, 150, 160 all-purpose yards with a touchdown is a bad day. I guess we'll take those bad days whenever they come.''
So let’s get this straight: Ball ran for 120 yards and a score, knew he could have broken off more big plays had he picked up his feet, and is motivated to really get things going this week?
That’s an ominous sign for Oregon State, who allowed 196 yards per game on the ground last season.
Going off of those numbers, it could be said that the Badgers limiting Bell to 118 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries when the two teams met in Camp Randall last season was a successful defensive effort.
Bell, a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, will be the focal point of Wisconsin’s offense once again on Saturday.
Running behind an offensive line that should be able to manhandle a smaller, less talented group of Badgers, Bell is poised to have one of those games that makes you look twice at the box score once you see it.
200 yards rushing, three touchdowns and a lopsided Badgers victory are all on tap for Monte Ball this weekend.