Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)
Sophomore running back Benny Snell is one of the best running backs to ever occupy the backfield at the University of Kentucky. Saturday night wasn’t his career high rushing performance but it was his best when his team needed it most.
Snell, fresh off a career-worst 18 yards at Mississippi State, ran with a burst that hadn’t been seen from him this season. He carried the ball 27 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns, which is easily his best performance of the season.
The 180 yards is the most a UK player has ever gained against Tennessee. The rushing total is also the second-most single-game yardage of his career after recording 192 yards at Missouri last season.
Snell was eager to return to the field and avenge an awful performance vs. Mississippi State. He was so anxious that even on a day offensive players wasn’t available for interviews, he walked by and said, “100 yards rushing.”
The prediction was bold, considering the rushing attack hadn’t been up to par all season, but the UK sophomore delivered on his promise.
Early on, you could tell Snell was running harder than he had all season. With the Wildcats at 5-2, fan criticism was reaching its peak, ready to ignite at any moment. Snell and his teammates responded and in the process extinguished any chance of Stoops’ seat getting warm.
The rushing performance was the fourth 100-yard game of the season and ninth of his career. Snell becomes the first player to record nine career games of 100-yards rushing prior to their junior season.
The three first-half touchdowns give him nine on the season and 22 for his career. He is the first player in UK history to achieve 20 career-rushing touchdowns prior to his junior season.
The UK running back is well on his way to another 1,000 yard rushing season. He has carried the ball 160 times for 721 yards and nine touchdowns. Saturday’s 180-yard performance gives him 1,812 career rushing yards, moving him into ninth place on the UK career-rushing list.
Last night showed you how dominant Benny Snell can be. Snell and the Wildcats will look to keep the momentum rolling vs. Ole Miss Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.