Powe Show

The journeyed tale of Jerrell Powe has long been exhausted, but as the regular season ended with a blowout win over Mississippi State, he couldn't help but find his name back in the news.

The Rebels smothered the Bulldogs, holding them under 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing for the first time since 2006.

Yet with all the hoopla surrounding the defensive ambush, perhaps the play of the day came when the 340- pounder snagged an interception caused by fellow linesman Greg Hardy.

Typical of Powe, he quickly shifted all praise to his teammates and coaches.

"It felt good to be in the right place at the right time," he said. "Give a lot of credit to Coach Nix and the staff. They did a great job of working us hard. Coach Rocker taught us to stay in our gaps and always told us to always believe."

2008 has been an up-and-down season for Powe. Once a regular in the in the d-line's rotation, the gentle giant saw his playing time decrease around the season's midway point.

Along came the spoils of November and a significantly improved Rebel squad taking the field each Saturday. The defense began to swarm and the "landsharks" were born.

Powe was no exception to the movement.

"Coach Rocker told me before the season started that he would not embarrass me," the sophomore said. "He told me he would take his time with me and get me ready before he threw me in the fire.

"I appreciate that because so much is expected of me and I didn't need that added pressure after what I went through just to get here. I'm going to keep working hard and next year I will be a much better player."

As Powe progressed, the front-four began to show its dominance. The unit's depth became apparent as they terrorized any foe that stood in their way.

Ole Miss' 11 sacks against State were the most from records dating back to 1980. The Rebels posted double-figure tackles for loss five times this season, including 14.0 TFLs Friday.

Most notably for Powe, however, were his first career interception and a career-high 1.5 sacks.

"There had been a lot of jaw-jacking going on in the week, so we wanted to put on a show and shut their mouths," he said. "That's what we did and I was proud to be a little part of it."

While his potential is seemingly being realized, it's the spirited competition of all members of the defense that has made the group one of the best in the conference.

Powe explained how each has challenged the others daily.

"We always have a little competition along the defensive line, but the secondary has a championship belt they pass around to who gets the most interceptions," he explained. "We were all competing for that. The front seven won against Mississippi State."

As his game progresses, Powe will only get better. And as that growth increases, so will the fear of opposing quarterbacks.

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