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Cats built season around Snell, Allen, Bowden — and they all delivered in the bowl win

Kentucky fans celebrated Tuesday’s win. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Give Penn State coach James Franklin credit for not being bashful about giving Kentucky credit for beating his team 27-24 Tuesday in the Citrus Bowl.

Kentucky got a normal big game from running back Benny Snell along with a punt return touchdown and overall terrific game from receiver Lynn Bowden. On defense, All-American Josh Allen had three quarterback sacks, one quarterback hurry and one blocked field goal.

“The three guys that we knew we had to stop were Bowden, Snell and Allen. We knew that. You know, and I think, really, all three of them showed up today,” Franklin said after the game. “We knew Bowden was going to be a problem. We
knew Allen was going to be a problem. We knew Snell was going to be a problem.”

Knowing is one thing. Changing that is another matter.

“They built their program around those guys. They built their season around those guys. There are guys that can hurt you a lot of different ways,” Franklin said.

‘They’re tough, athletic, smart, physical, and they played well, and they made plays at timely situations, like great players do.”

And that’s how Kentucky won a game where it struggled offensively the first half and then let most of a 27-7 lead slip away in the second half.

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  1. As I recall, the name of C.J. Conrad was also on this list at the beginning of the season and during as well. He had a good year but could have had a great year under any other OC than Gran who didn’t have the mental capacity to comprehend his value. The biggest game of the year and his career and he is thrown 1 pass. Conrad has stayed humble and team oriented thru out his career and has been a great ambassador for the team and the university. There were several games when it appeared that Gran even forget he was on the bench let alone targeted for meaningful production.

  2. I was so happy for that win. It took these special players plus all the others to win this game. We did let up, and I immediately thought – here we go again. When we started playing to not lose rather than to win, I was shocked. Thank goodness, something got them all going again.

    I also think James Franklin outsmarted himself going for 3 rather than the touchdown with just a few minutes left. He didn’t know the heart of Benny and the offense. They were not going to let us lose.

  3. I agree that we did not use C J Conrad up to his potential and that James Franklin made a mistake not going for it on 4th down. All these calls are made in the fast paced action of the game. It is like a giant chest match! Sometimes moves work and other times they don’t. I had hoped we would use C J more often and I am glad that Franklin did not go for it.

    Overall our coaching staff did a great job and we won ten games! No one is perfect, but we have the best coaching staff in my lifetime since Fran Curci, but our current staff does it with hard work instead of cheating. Franklin decided to kick a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down. I am glad he did, because our starting corners were injured on the sidelines and their previous success on the last two drives.

    I am sure the Penn State fans are criticizing Franklin for not going for it. We will never know if it would have worked. I would much rather the game be in our hands at the end of the game. I am going to savor this victory and quit being so negative about KY Football. We need to support this team and coaches who have changed the atmosphere about KY Football.

    If we can keep these coaches on our sidelines, the future looks bright indeed!
    Go Cats and I can’t wait for next September.

  4. I had my problems with Gran early in the season but he did the one thing I knew he had to do to ice the game against Penn. St.. He gave the ball to Benny.

    I told my wife over and over again they needed to do just that and Benny made it work even though PSU knew exactly what was coming. The offensive line was huge in that series also. UK can manhandle teams at key points of the game which is not something we have seen a lot at UK over the years.

    A big reason Conrad didn’t get the ball as much as he should was the Penn. St. pass rush. They were very good at it. It’s hard to throw the ball well under those conditions. Wilson still managed a good completion percentage in the game. Still they were never going to win with their passing game. Not against Penn. St..

  5. Good football starts up front, always has and always will. On both sides of the ball. UK lost to Georgia. and an East championship, in the trenches, it is that simple. That said, UK OL and DL never got the credit they deserved this year IMO for their 10 wins. UK’s OL should be better than average next year too with Landon Young back. Problem is, they need a work horse like Snell to run the football. Don’t know if they have one that can carry the load like Snell did. Rodriquez, Smoke, maybe?

  6. Savor this season to the hilt. Things will be back to normal next year.

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