Kentucky Downs Austin Peay to Become Bowl Eligible
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Freshman Benny Snell rushed for 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Kentucky beat Austin Peay 49-13 on Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium. The win was the sixth of the season for the Wildcats, making them eligible for a bowl game for the first time since 2010.
In the process of having his fifth 100-yard rushing effort of the year, Snell also broke the Kentucky record for rushing yards by a freshman, eclipsing the mark formerly held by Moe Williams, who rushed for 928 yards in 1993. Snell now has 1,006 yards on the ground this season.
Austin Peay got the ball first, and the Governors promptly went on a 15-play, 71-yard drive. However, the drive ended when Chris Westry intercepted Austin Peay quarterback JaVaughn Craig at the 12 yard line, ending the threat.
After Kentucky was forced to punt on its first drive, Austin Peay put together another lengthy drive, this time going 63 yards in nine plays, culminating in a 17-yard touchdown carry by Kentel Williams to make it 7-0 Governors.
The Wildcats got the ball back, but on third down, starting quarterback Luke Wright was intercepted by Austin Peay linebacker Gun Scholato, who returned the pick 25 yards for the score. The extra point was no good, and Austin Peay led 13-0.
After Kentucky punted, Austin Peay’s Craig was intercepted by Kentucky’s Mike Edwards, who returned the ball 46 yards and into Governors’ territory. And the Wildcats took advantage of the good field position, scoring on a 30-yard run by Benny Snell, cutting the lead to 13-7 with 6:51 left in the first half.
Kentucky forced Austin Peay to punt, then took over at the UK 49 yard line. On the first play of the next drive, Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson hit Jeff Badet for 42 yards, getting the Wildcats inside the Governors’ red zone. After a holding penalty, Johnson hit tight end C.J. Conrad with a 14-yard touchdown pass down the left side of the field. The Austin MacGinnis extra point gave Kentucky a 14-13 lead with 3:37 remaining in the half.
But the Wildcats were not done. After Austin Peay punted again, Johnson connected with Garrett Johnson on a 40-yard scoring pass, boosting Kentucky’s lead to 21-13 with 59 seconds left in the half.
Kentucky got the ball to start the second half, and the Wildcats wasted little time. After Jojo Kemp returned the kickoff into Austin Peay territory, Kentucky went three plays in 38 yards, with Boom Williams finishing the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 28-13.
On its next drive, Austin Peay turned the ball over on downs, and Kentucky immediately took advantage. On the first play of its drive, Snell took a direct snap in the Wildcat formation and rushed untouched up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown to make it 35-13.
Senior Jojo Kemp got into the action on Kentucky’s next drive, scampering 40 yards for a touchdown in his final home game. That score made it 42-13 Cats. Kemp would add another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to give Kentucky a 49-13 advantage.
Kentucky returns to action next Saturday against Louisville at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Kickoff time has not yet been announced, nor has a television network.