Purdue freshman receiver David Bell didn’t take it upon himself to try to do too much when speedy preseason All-America candidate Rondale Moore went down with a leg injury three weeks ago.
“He’s obviously a huge factor in our offense, but I personally don’t think our mindset changed,” Bell said.
Bell has emerged as Purdue’s prime receiving target in Moore’s absence, and the 6-foot-2, 210-pound standout from Warren Central will look to continue his pass-catching prowess when the Boilermakers play at No. 23 Iowa on Saturday (noon, ESPN2).
Bell was named Big Ten freshman of the week Monday after catching nine passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns in Purdue’s 40-14 win over Maryland last week.
Bell had eight catches for 114 yards Sept. 28 against Minnesota, the game Moore went down with his leg injury. The following week in a 35-7 loss at Penn State, Bell had three catches for 59 yards.
With Moore still out indefinitely, Purdue has turned to Bell, freshman receiver Amad Anderson Jr., freshman receiver Milton Wright and junior receiver Jackson Anthrop to help pick up the slack. Wright had a 59-yard touchdown catch last week against Maryland.
“Every Saturday, each and every one of us just wants to go out there and play our best,” Bell said. “And with (Moore) either at the game or not at the game, we’re just going to do what we can do to help our team win.”
A first-team All-State selection and Mr. Football runner-up in 2018, Bell was expected to make a splash at some point during his college career. But it’s come quicker than expected due to Moore’s injury. Bell has a team-high 438 yards receiving on 26 catches, with three touchdowns.
“In my opinion, he’s extremely smooth,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said on his weekly radio show Wednesday. “He reminds me of Jerry Rice in the way that he approaches the game. He kind of makes the consistent hard catch look easy.
“He’s a smooth route-runner, he knows what he’s doing, he’s got a good feel, he’s very athletic and he’s tremendous at going up and getting the ball in tight coverage. He’s become a very good leader just by the way he approaches (the game) and his ability to make plays consistently every week.”
Former Colts All-Pro safety Bob Sanders has been named honorary captain for Iowa in Saturday’s game against Purdue.
Sanders was a three-time All-Big Ten player for the Hawkeyes and was a second-team All-American in 2003.
Sanders was a second-round pick of the Colts in 2004 and went on to play eight NFL seasons, including seven with the Colts. He played a key role for the Colts when they defeated Chicago, 29-17, in Super Bowl XLI in Miami following the 2006 season, collecting two tackles, a forced fumble and a pass interception.