UK Football

Blue Review: Instant analysis from Kentucky’s football win over South Carolina

Benny Snell: I wanted them to keep feeding me

UK freshman running back Benny Snell talks about taking over in the second half of the Wildcats' 17-10 victory over South Carolina on Saturday night.
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UK freshman running back Benny Snell talks about taking over in the second half of the Wildcats' 17-10 victory over South Carolina on Saturday night.

Instant analysis from Kentucky’s 17-10 win over South Carolina:

How the game was won

With Benny Snell carrying nine times for 46 yards and supplying a 1-yard touchdown run, Kentucky drove 65 yards in the fourth quarter — all on the ground — for the game-deciding score.

Getting game balls

1. Mark Stoops. We said this was a must-win game for the fourth-year Kentucky coach. He won it.

2. Boom Williams and Benny Snell. Williams (15 carries, 123 yards, 1 TD) and Benny Snell (9 carries, 46 yards, 1 TD all on game-deciding drive) are becoming a formidable one-two punch.

3. Stephen Johnson II. In his first career UK start, the junior-college transfer did not dazzle statistically — but he got the number (one win) that mattered.

4. Josh Allen and Denzil Ware. With South Carolina driving for the game-tying score in UK territory, the Wildcats’ outside linebackers each recorded sacks that foiled the Gamecocks.

5. Mitch Barnhart. Anything that takes the focus off Mark Stoops’ $12 million contract buyout is a huge win for the UK athletics director.

Running gassers

1. South Carolina offense. The Gamecocks’ attack, the worst offense in the SEC statistically entering the game, looked every bit the part (268 total yards) against what had been a struggling UK defense.

2. South Carolina football program. No non-Vanderbilt SEC team had lost to Kentucky in three-consecutive years since Tennessee in 1957, ’58 and ’59. The Gamecocks now have the hat trick of defeats to UK in 2014, ’15 and ‘16.

Key number(s)

21. Kentucky ran 21 plays from scrimmage in the fourth quarter — all runs.

Fashion police

For the season’s fourth game, Kentucky wore matte blue helmets, anthracite black jerseys with white numbers and blue pants.

Who is next?

Kentucky will travel to Tuscaloosa to face defending national champion Alabama. The Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 SEC) rocked Coach Nick Saban’s alma mater, Kent State, 48-7 Saturday.

Know your foe

1. Kentucky is 2-36-1 all-time against Alabama — and has never beaten the Crimson Tide in the state of Alabama (0-20-1). Against Bama, UK is 0-9 in Tuscaloosa, 0-8-1 in Birmingham and 0-4 in Montgomery. The tie in Birmingham came in 1939, 7-7.

2. Former Madison Southern High School star Damien Harris left the Kent State game in the first quarter on a cart after suffering what Nick Saban subsequently said was a right ankle sprain. The 5-foot-11, 214-pound sophomore entered the game as Alabama’s leading rusher, having run for 327 yards on 36 carries good for 109 yards a game and 9.1 yards a carry. Saban said Harris’ post-injury playing status is “day to day.”

3. Counting SEC Championship Games, Alabama has won 15 games in a row against SEC East opponents. The last Crimson Tide defeat to an East foe came on Oct. 9, 2010, a 35-21 loss at South Carolina.

UK running back Boom Williams talks about the Cats' victory over South Carolina and the new running combination of he and freshman Benny Snell.

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops talks about the Wildcats' 17-10 victory over South Carolina on Saturday night.

UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran talks about the Cats' running attack and the progress of quarterback Stephen Johnson following Saturday's victory over South Carolina.

SEC standings

Eastern Division

SEC

All

Tennessee

1-0

4-0

Georgia

1-1

3-1

Florida

1-1

3-1

Kentucky

1-1

2-2

South Carolina

1-2

2-2

Missouri

0-1

2-2

Vanderbilt

0-1

2-2

Western Division

SEC

All

Texas A&M

2-0

4-0

Alabama

1-0

4-0

LSU

1-1

2-2

Ole Miss

1-1

2-2

Mississippi State

1-1

1-2

Auburn

1-1

2-2

Arkansas

0-1

3-1

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