By: Will Burchfield

If 2016 was a season to forget for Michigan State fans, 2017 has thus far been one to remember.

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Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has enjoyed every minute of it.

“Yeah, I’ve been watching them. Obviously I wish we didn’t drop that third game of the season, just being a Michigan State alum, but those guys have been playing well. We’ve been getting the job done,” said Bell, whose Steelers will be in Detroit Sunday night for a showdown with the Lions.

Bell played at Michigan State from 2010 to 2012, during which time the Spartans went 28-11. This year’s team, he said, reminds him of the teams he played on back in the day.

“All the wins haven’t been pretty. And I remember even when I was in college, when we had good records, all the wins weren’t pretty. But as long as they’re getting the job done,” said Bell, “I’m more than satisfied of being a Michigan State alum.”

The 6-1 Spartans are quickly putting last year’s 3-9 campaign behind them. They’re 4-0 in Big 10 play, including a road win at Michigan, and have risen to No. 16 in the AP Top 25. Each of their last four wins have been one-score games.

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Sunday will mark Bell’s first game in Michigan since his 2012 season in East Lansing.

“It means a lot, obviously, the opportunity to play in the state of Michigan again,” he said.

But this time Bell will be the enemy.

“Want to get the ball rolling for my squad and the Pittsburgh Steelers. We’ve been on a roll lately and I’m obviously hoping we keep that going,” he said.

The Steelers (5-2) have won two straight games and sit atop the AFC North. Bell ranks third in the NFL with 97.7 rushing yards per game. He’s chewed up over 300 yards in Pittsburgh’s last two games.

Many consider him the best running back in the NFL, thanks to his patience and shiftiness behind the line of scrimmage. He said his game has evolved somewhat since college, but remained the same at its core.

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“I just think as I got older and more experienced with playing football, I just got more confident in my ability. I feel like I’ve always been a patient runner. I just think now that I’m older and I understand the game a little better, I understand blocking schemes better. I trust my teammates a little more, so that all kind of plays in to the way I play now,” Bell said. “It just comes with experience and a lot of practice.”