By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky junior running back Benny Snell rushed 26 times for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns Saturday, and Kentucky won its eighth game of the season (the most by UK since 1984) by beating Middle Tennessee 34-23 at Kroger Field.
Snell has now rushed for 1,205 yards on 165 carries and has 3,629 yards. He needs 207 more yards to pass Sonny Collins (1972-75) and become UK’s all-time leading rusher.
However, if he’s going to do it, he likely has just two games — the regular season finale against Louisville and UK’s bowl game. Head coach Mark Stoops wouldn’t say Snell would be leaving for the NFL after this season, but he basically said so.
Stoops said he would discuss Snell’s future with him after the season but made it clear it would be a lot different conversation than he had with players like Josh Allen, Mike Edwards and C.J. Conrad a year ago.
“I think that position and what he’s done is totally different from some of the other guys. And I’ll let Benny make that announcement at the appropriate time and what he decides to do,” Stoops said. “But that position is clearly different and what he’s done, and the upside, he stands some to lose by coming back where other guys, they all gained by coming back.
“That position’s really different. You have to look at it differently, so, you know. I don’t think it will be a long conversation.”
Snell said “maybe after this game or after the bowl game” he would go home to talk to his family about his future.
“Sit down and have some coffee and talk about it,” he laughed and said.
Snell has rushed for over 1,000 yards three straight years. He had his fifth 100-yard rushing game Saturday and 17th of his career. He also now has 44 career rushing touchdowns, second most of any player in SEC history prior to his senior season (Herschel Walker has the record with 49).
“He’s a good back,” Middle Tennessee defensive tackle Malik Manciel said. “He has a lot of patience and I definitely like that. He’s a good physical back, nothing but respect to him.”