Final Chapter

Kentrell Lockett can see the end. It's here now. Ole Miss has but two games left in its season.

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Up first is a home game against LSU, then the Rebels travel to Mississippi State for the annual "Battle of the Golden Egg," a game played by bitter in-state rivals to end the regular season.

No more games after that, at least not for Ole Miss. The Rebels are 2-8 overall on the year and 0-6 in Southeastern Conference games. But while the games carry little or no weight, Saturday is significant for Lockett.

Because he's a senior playing his last home game. Because that game is against LSU, the banner school of his home state of Louisiana. Because he is expecting a number of friends and family in the stands, though some of those family and friends will be donning Tiger purple and gold.

"It'll be crazy, man. And it'll be against LSU. Is that not weird to nobody? I think that's why I've been smiling for a while. It's crazy," he said. "A home game, against a home team with a lot of homeboys on the team? It's going to be crazy. It's bittersweet, too. The last game period, for me, as an Ole Miss Rebel. I don't want to get too emotional, I just want to play ball. It's here."

Yes, it's here. And what a long, strange trip it's been.

In his six years at Ole Miss, Lockett has experienced two Cotton Bowls, two disastrous seasons and two coaching changes. He's played on teams with a wealth of NFL talent -- Michael Oher, Peria Jerry, Greg Hardy, Jamarca Sanford, etc. -- and teams riddled by injury and youth.

He never expected his senior season to play out like it has. Lockett was granted a sixth year of eligibility in the spring after playing in only three games last season prior to tearing his ACL. The injury slowed his play this season. He'll say as much. However, as his career has slowly winded down, he has felt more like himself.

Kentrell Lockett
Chuck Rounsaville

Lockett has played in 10 games this season. He has 22 total tackles, two tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.

"This smile. I think when they hear my name or see anything that has to do with or associate with me, they'll think of this smile, this character maybe," Lockett said, when asked of the legacy he's leaving.

"And football, of course, but that's what I was here for. The football, that's the reason why I'm an Ole Miss Rebel. But everything else, the journalism aspect of it, the talking, the meeting (the media) and enjoying all this, I think that's what everybody else's going to love and remember me by."

Lockett will probably be best remembered for his key play in the Rebels' upset win at top-ranked Florida, led by Tim Tebow, in 2008. Lockett blocked an extra-point attempt. Ole Miss went on to win the game 31-30.

After the game, Tebow made an emotional speech and the Gators rallied to win a national championship. "I caused something a long time ago, a statue of Tebow," Lockett said. "Why not cause something else?"

Ole Miss hosts No. 1 LSU (10-0, 6-0 SEC) Saturday at 6 p.m.

"We just have to go out and do it and be confident. Don't worry how the season has panned out until now. It's just another game. It'll be crazy, despite everything that's happened, to come out with a ‘W' against LSU," he said.

"The NCAA would hate us for that, if you think about it. You don't think they would hate us for that? Everybody wants to see LSU in the national championship, BCS bowl game, and we would beat ‘em. They would hate us for that. That'll be something to be known by; a bad season, but one heroic game that just destroyed all BCS looks. It's a thought. It's against LSU. Why not?"

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