His legs never stopped moving, not even after he’d replaced his cleats with flip flops, not even after he’d made history.
Eyes that were once focused on the end zone were now focused on dozens of cameras and media.
Benny Snell had just made history in Kentucky’s 44-21 victory at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
The sophomore running back knew he’d just set a school record for career rushing touchdowns (28), that he’d become the first UK player to run for 1,000 or more yards in back-to-back seasons, that he’d just become the fastest Cat to reach 2,000 rushing yards and just the ninth to ever do it.
And yet Snell’s legs kept bouncing under the table flooded with microphones. Like he still had more running to do.
“This is just how I play,” he said after a 116-yard, three-touchdown performance. “I just try to run hard and get the first down. That’s just how it is. I just come in with a chip on my shoulder.”
Kentucky (7-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) came in with a chip on its shoulder after falling in the final seconds at home last week to Ole Miss.
The Cats felt as though they had something to prove — and they did, falling behind by seven points early as Ralph Webb ripped off a 37-yard run before reeling off 34 unanswered points to break the game open and erase any doubts about how it would go.
“The way we responded and played it the entire game, we played efficient on offense, defense and special teams,” Coach Mark Stoops said. “And each group contributed to the victory, and that makes it very enjoyable as a team.”
It was nice to just “finish out an opponent,” center Drake Jackson said after UK outgained Vanderbilt 427-368 and 232-60 on the ground. “We put up a lot of points in the second half. Offensively, we were trying to stomp on their neck.”
The Cats responded to Vandy’s score with a 22-yard scoring run from Sihiem King, his first touchdown of the season. It wasn’t his last of the game, though. The junior ran for 69 yards and two scores on 15 carries.
After King’s first, Snell added a 22-yarder of his own, followed by back-to-back field goals from Austin MacGinnis. The senior kicker was 3-for-3 in the victory.
Kentucky’s defense, which hadn’t intercepted a pass since Sept. 30 against Eastern Michigan, had three picks in the first half. Vandy quarterback Kyle Shurmur, who had thrown only three interceptions all season, threw four in all.
First there was a Denzil Ware pick near the line of scrimmage after lineman Adrian Middleton tipped a pass. It was Ware’s first career interception.
“Everybody wanted it,” Ware said. “Everybody wanted to play. … We came out and we hit the hardest, we got the turnovers and we won the game.”
It started a Wildcat windfall, which included picks by safety Mike Edwards and cornerback Derrick Baity. Cornerback Jordan Griffin added the fourth in the final seconds.
Edwards, Jordan Jones and Davonte Robinson had five tackles apiece to lead the UK defense.
Trailing 34-7, the Commodores responded with two touchdowns in the third quarter: a 14-yard Shurmur run and a 17-yard Shurmur pass to Kalija Lipscomb.
Shurmur completed 30 of 43 pass attempts for 308 yards.
UK’s Stephen Johnson was 13-for-17 passing for 195 yards.
Garrett Johnson caught six of those passes for 76 yards. Lynn Bowden added three catches for 79 yards and nearly had a kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
But the night belonged to Snell.
“It’s incredible,” Stoops said of Snell. “Really love the way he’s gone about his work. As we said from day one when we recruited him and when he came in here, the first thing we looked at with him is what you see, that toughness, is that attitude, is a strong, physical runner. But the maturity to be able to do these things. …
“He’s a competitive guy and he goes through some ups and some downs. That’s the way it’s going to be when you’re a running back in the SEC.”
Knowing the records that were in reach motivated Snell, “but I wasn’t going to change my running style. I wasn’t going to try to go harder, I wasn’t going to try to run softer. I was just going to go into it how I do every single game.”
It was his third straight game with three touchdowns. He’s found his rhythm. He’s found his stride.
And he keeps moving.
Kentucky at Georgia
3:30 p.m. Saturday (CBS-27)