On January 1, 2019, former Kentucky superstar running back Benny Snell made history.
With a 12-yard touchdown rush late in the third quarter against Penn State in the Citrus Bowl, the former Wildcat crossed the 107-yard threshold to surpass Sonny Collins and become Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher.
In preparation of UK Sports Network’s new Kentucky Classics series – they replayed the Citrus Bowl broadcast on Friday evening – Snell sat down for an interview to break down the historic moment and how the record-breaking touchdown run came to fruition.
“I knew that I was close. Like, I felt that I probably had 70 or 80 yards. I felt I was close, but not there yet,” Snell said of the lead-up to the moment. “We continue running the ball and running the ball, and we got that first down where we’re in goal line range now. I’m starting to hear the chants. It was the “Benny” chants. I could just feel it.”
Next, he had two requests, one for Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and the other for former offensive lineman Bunchy Stallings.
For Gran, he wanted rushing opportunities to continue his way. For Stallings, he just needed a single block.
“I told Coach Gran, “You’ve got to know. You’ve got to know.” And he definitely knew,” Snell said. “He called that inside zone, and I remember right before the play, I looked at Bunchy [Stallings] and said, “You’ve just got to secure that block. All you’ve got to do is secure that block and let me squeeze right through.” And that’s exactly what he did.”
From there, everything went silent for the former Kentucky star.
He found the gap, broke through, and jogged into the end zone to make history.
“He secured that [block], I hit it, and I just remember when I was running, everything went silent,” Snell said. “I couldn’t hear nothing until I got in the end zone and got down on my knees. Then everything came back. I could hear all the yelling, I just said, “Thank you God.” I’m so happy I was able to do it. Thankful for my offensive line.”
.@benny_snell sharing his memory of the @CitrusBowl
Relive the game tonight at 7pm starting with the @donfranklinauto countdown to kickoff with @ChristiUKsports, @dusty_bonner & @DoubleJJ90 then hear @tomleachKY @JeffPiecoro & @bigblueinsider1 on the call pic.twitter.com/N3WpaU3wEa
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) April 10, 2020
With 144 total rushing yards in his final game as a Wildcat, Snell finished his three-year career with 3,873 yards, a record that will be difficult to break anytime soon.