OL Justin Bell got his wish against LSU - to playa snap or two on the DL

With the Rebels holding a late three-touchdown lead over LSU last week, Offensive Lineman Justin Bell got to do something on his football bucket list - play on the defensive line in a game.

"I am a trench man deluxe," Justin joked. "That's the first time I have played on the defensive line since the Pearl game in high school.

"I have been teasing (DL) Coach (Chris) Kiffin for a while about letting me play on the DL. It was late in the game, we were way ahead and it was senior night, so he suprised me and threw me in there. I was as shocked as you were. All I did was come off the ball and bull rush. If I had gotten a sack, the bench would have erupted. I'm sure LSU's guys were thinking 'who is this guy with the knee braces on?' but it was fun."

But now, a few days later, all the fun and games are over as yet another rival face Bell and the Rebels with Mississippi State up next in the Egg Bowl in Starkville Saturday night.

"I expect a really hard game, a tough game," noted Justin. "It will be a battle. All rivalry games are battles and this one is no different. This is a huge game for us - we have a lot to play for, but so does Mississippi State. We have to finish strong and that's all that is on our mind."

Bell says he talks to the younger Rebels about the rivalry because they don't understand the intensity of it - yet.

"To be honest, even though I am from Mississippi, I didn't get it either until I played in an Egg Bowl," he continued. "Where I was from, we always kept up with SWAC football so I didn't grasp it. This is a much bigger stage and now I get the rivalry.

"It is a big, big game. A lot of Ole Miss fans think LSU is the top rivalry, and I get that, but not everybody agrees. I don't. Mississippi State wants to be us. We are the Flagship University. It will be a fight."

Bell is impressed with MSU's defensive front seven.

"Chris Jones and thosee guys are not really penetrators, but they are big guys who are hard to move. They do a great job of anchoring down and keeping offensive linemen off their linebackers," he explained. "They also give great effort. All their guys do that. Guys who are talented and give great effort are a lot harder to play than guys who just have talent and try to get by on that."

Justin is confident because the Rebel OL seems to have come together nicely in the last month or so and Ole Miss is leading the SEC in points per game and total offense due, in a big way, to the OL development, the run game development, the terrific wideouts and QB Chad Kelly's performance.

"Chad takes things personally. When he makes mistakes, he takes the load. We like that when a QB doesn't point fingers and owns up to his mistakes," Bell noted. "We can follow a leader who takes responsibility. We have taken his lead and developed into a pretty good unit, but our work is not done. We face yet another great challenge Saturday.

"I like what we are doing in the run game and when we are able to protect Chad like we should, he is very, very good."

Bell does not lack for confidence, but he knows the game Satrurday will not be about talk. It will be about action and results.

"We feel we are the best in the state, but I am sure MSU feels the same. One of us will prove it Saturday and we think it's going to be us," he closed.

And Justin Bell's hope? To get the call to play on the defensive line at the end off the game with the Rebels holding a big lead - again.

That will mean the Rebels are coming home with the coveted Golden Egg.


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