By LARRY VAUGHT
Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill likes a lot about Kentucky’s football team but he really likes running back Benny Snell and linebacker Josh Allen.
“They’ve got one of the top running backs in the country, let alone the SEC. He’s a really good hard-nosed, tough runner,” the coach said about Snell going into Saturday afternoon’s game. “He’s physical, he runs behind his pads, and he’s strong.
“He’s got speed where he can run away from you and strength to where he can run through you. He gets better as the game goes along. He’s produced against everybody that they’ve played. He’s one of the best in the country and there’s a lot of really good back in the country this year.”
He was just as complimentary of Allen, who needs one sack to become UK’s all-time sacks leader.
“They’ve got a really special pass rusher at defensive end that has really dominated the SEC in the first 10 games for them,” Stockstill said. “When you play teams like this there isn’t much margin for error.”
How does Middle Tennessee deal with Allen when so many SEC teams have not been able to contain him?
“We’ve got to be able to run the ball. If you’re one dimensional then he can just pin his ears back and come,” the Middle Tennessee coach said. “Stay out of third and long situation which correlates to being good on first down. Our running backs have to block and be very good fundamentally or you’ll have no chance.”
Senior quarterback Brent Stockstill, the coach’s son, knows plenty about Allen.
“He’s really good, and I hear he’s going to be a first round draft pick next year,” the quarterback said. “Obviously he’s an outstanding player and the heart of their defense.
“Any time you play a guy like that, you have to have a great plan and figure out a way to slow him down. We’ll have to have success with the run, and it’s my job as the quarterback to get the ball out of my hands faster and get the protection set up right. But he’s going to make plays and we can’t let his plays dictate the game.”