LEXINGTON, Ky. — Benny Snell got his first career carry for Kentucky on Saturday night, and 17 carries later, Snell had 4 touchdowns to his name.
The broad-shouldered freshman running back was the bang to junior Boom Williams’, well, boom, as the Wildcats backfield ran over New Mexico State for 381 yards. Snell appeared on special teams against Southern Mississippi and Florida but had yet to record a carry before Saturday. Senior Jojo Kemp was held out of the game and the spot opened for Snell.
“It was great,” Snell said. “The fireworks, the fans. It was a really good time.”
The 5-foot-11, 220-pound freshman from Westerville, Ohio, is the perfect complement to Williams’ 5-foot-9, 196-pound frame.
“I think so,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. “It really does. He’s a physical guy and it’s really important, as you know, through the course of the past couple years, those short-yardage situations are critical. It’s good to have a guy like that (with) physical presence.”
Snell wasn’t the only offensive player to emerge Saturday. Sophomore TE C.J. Conrad recorded 15 receptions last year, but had just one reception for 5 yards coming into the New Mexico State matchup. He quickly became the favorite target of Stephen Johnson, who entered after the first series when starter Drew Barker injured his back.
Conrad streaked down the sideline for a 72-yard score in the first quarter and ended his day with 133 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns.
“He did a phenomenal job today and really extended plays with his legs and his body,” Johnson said of Conrad. “Just hit people and kept on going. He had a great day.”
The offense is evolving three games into the season and Snell and Conrad were at the heart of it Saturday night.