Kentucky’s historic 2018 football season was filled with new highs. As we close in on the beginning of the 2019 season, let’s look back at the best of the best moments that defined the Cats’ incredible run.
Throughout the day I’ll be counting down the top ten plays from Mark Stoops’ sixth season in Lexington. But first, the best plays that just missed the cut.
Benny Snell is making his money as a power running back, but just because he’s good at running people over doesn’t mean he can’t put opponents on skates. A South Carolina defender was prepared to take down Benny as soon as he received the handoff, until Snell smashed the B-button for a flawless spin move.
Kentucky was in unfamiliar territory, up five with less than four minutes to play in The Swamp. Fresh off a 99-yard Florida scoring drive, the UK offense needed to chew up clock on the ground with Benny Snell. Bunchy Stallings was prepared to pave the way.
On third and one every person in the stadium knew Benny was getting the ball. Bunchy pulled down the line of scrimmage and completely flattened a defender. The block heard round the Bluegrass opened up a lane for Snell’s 20-yard gain and officially began Bunchy’s All-American campaign.
Bunchy Stallings with the enormous pancake block. (2018) pic.twitter.com/5cJ9adFZP1
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) September 9, 2018
In real time:
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 12, 2018
Stallings had an excellent senior season, but some people may say this one play is responsible for his selection to the AP’s All-American first team. The mammoth-sized pancake certainly merits the honor.
Forced and Recovered
South Carolina was quickly humbled at Kroger Field. Playing at home as a Top 25 team for the first time in a decade, the 4-0 Wildcats turned the game upside down on Carolina’s fourth offensive play of the game. After a three and out produced only one yard, the Cocks tried to move the ball on the ground. Jordan Jones had different plans. The senior linebacker stripped the ball and recovered it in one fluid motion to setup Kentucky’s first score of the day.
The Cats would go on to win 24-10, the fifth straight victory over South Carolina, thanks in large part to Josh Allen’s efforts. A week after a bunch of “almost” sacks against Miss. State, the Defensive Player of the Year was a man possessed. Allen had eight tackles, four for loss, three sacks and a quarterback hurry, a.k.a 15 minutes worth of highlights.
Bowden to the House
Lynn Bowden returned five punts in 2018. Two of them were touchdowns. That’s just silly.
Shout out to Ahmad Wagner for the block that sealed this Citrus Bowl score. No player in college football was more effective in 2018 without producing a single stat than Wagner.
Fresh off a win at Florida, the Cats exhaled against Murray State. To give Mississippi State more to watch on film, Eddie Gran dialed up a reverse to Zy’aire Hughes. Thanks to a pair of blocks on the edge, the speedy receiver went 49 yards to the house.
It was one of a few fun plays down the stretch by guys you rarely heard from. Allen Dailey had an incredibly physical touchdown catch and Chris Rodriguez carried a couple of dudes before falling just short of the goal line.
Goal Line Stand
On a cold, windy October night, Vanderbilt pushed Kentucky to the edged. Plagued by poor offensive execution, the fatigued UK defense let the Commodores march down to the 16-yard line. Facing a fourth and one, Kash Daniel surged into the backfield and poked the ball free, right into Quinton Bohanna’s bread basket.
Benny Snell responded the following drive with an 80-yard touchdown drive on 12 straight runs.
Josh Allen Strip Sacks
The UK pass rusher ended two games with authority. Vanderbilt had a chance to tie the game with a minute to play, until Allen hit Kyle Shurmur from behind to knock the ball free.
How did the play that sealed UK’s first victory over Florida in 31 years miss the Top 10? Well, the no whistle made for a bit of an anticlimactic ending, but Allen’s rush was nonetheless incredible. Don’t worry, he has plenty of other pays in the countdown, and maybe even one from that game.