Bell was just getting warmed up, it turned out. He ended the 2005 season, his sophomore year, with 1,266 rushing yards.
Bell missed last year when he was sidelined with a knee injury. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder from Keenesburg, Colo., is back and expected to start against Colorado when the Rams and Buffs face off Saturday at Invesco Field.
Colorado linebackers coach Brian Cabral said he's prepared his players to defend the kind of tailback who ran over people in 2005, not a gimpy player coming back from an injury.
"I expect him to pick up where he left off (in 2005)," Cabral said.
CU starting linebacker Jordon Dizon knows all about Bell.
"I remember him knocking the snot out of me a couple of times (in the 2005 game)," Dizon said Tuesday. "He's going to be a whole heap to tackle, but we're up to the challenge."
Dizon said Bell is a throwback type of runner.
"Especially nowadays, you rarely see a guy 6-2, 230 coming through a hole at you. He's a blue-collar guy who likes to bring his hardhat," the 6-0, 220-pound Dizon said.
Players on the CU defense expect Bell to get lots of carries on Saturday. While the Rams went away from their typical run, run, run/then play-action type of offense in the 2006 game, the Buffs think CSU will return to its ways of old.
Cornerback Terrence Wheatley said the Buffs' secondary can't get lulled into stopping the run, then bite and get burned on the play action deep.
One play the Buffs say they'll be ready for is the screen pass which kept several Colorado State drives alive in last year's game, a game the Rams won 14-10. Quarterback Caleb Hanie, who will helm the CSU offense again Saturday, was 20-of-23 passing for 223 yards in the win.
"His numbers were good but it was because he ran that screen efficiently," said CU safety Ryan Walters. "I don't think we were really expecting the screen. We had problems with getting it covered."
The secondary had trouble getting a lot of things covered last season. Opponents completed more than 65 percent of their passes against the Buffs. But players say they have a much better understanding of the defense now than they did then.
Dizon said last year this time, players were still trying to grasp the CU defensive system. Now they're fine tuning.
That's why Walters said he's aware of Bell's presence in the CSU lineup, but not worried about it.
"If we execute on defense, I don't see how having him in the lineup is going to change the game too much," Walters said.