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Benny Snell wasn’t going to let 102-degree fever stop him from playing, producing

Benny Snell (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

He had a 52-yard touchdown run and gained 125 yards on 20 carries — including another touchdown run Saturday.

But for Kentucky junior running back Benny Snell Jr. that’s just an ordinary game because of the high standards he’s set the previous two years.

Snell’s numbers, though, are more impressive considering he had what coach Mark Stoops said was a “temperature and a viral infection” Friday night. Stoops said UK trainers told him Snell would be okay and monitored him overnight.

“He woke up and wasn’t feeling great (Saturday morning). And so they took him to the hospital and gave him a bag of fluids and checked him out and he came back and played pretty solid,” Stoops said.

That’s a high standard when 125 yards rushing and two touchdowns becomes only a “pretty solid” effort.

Snell said he had a fever, chills, headache all in the 24 hours before the game.

“Friday it (temperature) was 98 and I was real cold and knew something was wrong,” Snell said. “Game day it was 102. I stayed in bed. They held me back, I got a little rest. I am me. I was ready. That never could stop me.”

Kentucky had to score in the final minute of the first half to talk a 21-17 halftime lead after trailing 17-7. Kentucky had four turnovers in the first half — and even Snell had a fumble that teammate E.J. Price recovered.

“The talk was that, we can’t play worse. We couldn’t have played any worse. Every mistake was on us, especially on me,” Snell said. “We were trying to come out and score every single drive and I just felt like it was the little, first jitters. The first jitters you get out. We got them out, we condone ourselves on offense and we came out to play.”

It helped that his roommate, sophomore A.J. Rose, had a 55-yard touchdown run — his first score at UK — and 104 yards rushing on just eight carries. That was his first 100-yard game.

“This is a long time coming. This was our plan before the season and it’s all just coming into play now. I’ve been correcting him on all his mistakes, and he’s been correcting me. That’s my brother, we’re going to take it all away,” Snell said.

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