First Egg Bowl Is Big Day For Bulldog Bell

Mississippi State doesn't have a lengthy list of game-winning kicks in the Egg Bowl. But the trio of modern memory certainly stand out. In 2007 it was Adam Carlson's 48-yard field goal with a dozen seconds left which completed their fourth-quarter rally and 17-14 victory at Scott Field.

The 1999 meeting is even better-recalled as State, again at home, also scored 17 fourth-quarter points including the game-winning three. That was by Scott Westerfield from 44-yards out with four ticks remaining and after a fluke interception/return by the Bulldog defense.

But for sheer freakishness nothing can or should ever match what happened in Jackson in 1983, when a 27-yard chip shot by Artie Cosby on the game's last play was all State needed to win. Except as foot met ball an incredibly-badly (for the Bulldogs) timed burst of wind came through the open eastern of the stadium. Cosby's kick, hit PAT-style in height to avoid any block, set the ball up where the wind could stop it short of the goalposts. That is contrary to mythology from both sides that the ball went through and was blown-back. It would have counted had that been the case.

And, "That would ****," said PK Devon Bell. He's seen the film of something that happened nine-plus years before he was born and finds it amazing, as only a placekicker can appreciate.

Mississippi State is appreciating Bell much better here in November, too. The freshman has had his ups and downs, or rights and lefts, as ought be anticipated of a true rookie. Still he's 11-of-17 on freshman field goals and has hit the last two tries, including a season-long 47 yard number at LSU two weeks ago. It wasn't just his longest—make or miss—kick of the year but an impressive one given how the Tiger Stadium breeze was swirling at that south end.

Bell did say the wind helped at the very end, playing the ball inside the right pole. "It felt real good to get a pretty decent kick like that. It was a little farther and I'm getting a little more respect from people I guess." This harked back to the new kicker's three-miss streak to begin the rookie season and a couple of PATs clanked off iron (one good) at Troy to boot.

Actually silence was golden for Bell down in Baton Rouge, so to speak. He got an earful in warmups and calmed nerves by practice kicking. Then, as the game developed, "There was a couple of people yelling at me ‘Bell, you don't really do nothing!'" he said. That lasted until he hit the tough kick and returned to the sideline to hear…nothing. "Nah, they kind of shut up after that."

Now Bell participates in the annual Mississippi event which is all about talk. Interestingly the Bell family, immediate and extended, had partisans from both side of the Mississippi State-Ole Miss line. "I grew up kind of divided, it didn't matter to me. But now that I'm here, I hope that we win!"

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