Middleton, Snell Earn SEC Weekly Honors
Kentucky sophomore defensive tackle Adrian Middleton and freshman running back Benny Snell Jr. were named Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week, respectively, for their impressive play in the Wildcats’ 35-21 victory at Missouri, the league announced on Monday.
This is the second consecutive week Kentucky has had two players honored for the same game, and just the third time in school history. Snell also earned Freshman of the Week honors last week in the victory over Mississippi State and was joined by junior kicker Austin MacGinnis as Special Teams Player of the Week. In 2007, linebacker Wesley Woodyard was SEC Defensive Player of the Week and guard Jason Leger was SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following a win at Arkansas.
Snell, a true freshman from Westerville, Ohio, pounded the Missouri defense for a career-high 192 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries. He set a school record for most rushing yards by a freshman in a single game, topping Derick Logan’s 186 yards against Mississippi State on Nov. 9, 1996. A week earlier, Snell was honored for churning out 128 rushing yards against Mississippi State on 19 carries, including a career-long 34-yard touchdown run.
Snell has 661 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns this season, breaking Randall Cobb’s school record for most rushing touchdowns by a freshman, set in 2008. Snell’s 320 rushing yards the past two games are the most for a UK player over a two-game span since Rafael Little had 322 vs. Auburn and Vanderbilt in 2005.
Middleton, a sophomore from Bowling Green, Ky., had four tackles, including a tackle for loss, in the Wildcats’ win. His tackle for loss came at a critical point late in the first quarter when he stuffed Missouri on a 3rd-and-1 to force a punt with UK leading 7-0. The offense added a touchdown on the ensuing possession to push the lead to 14-0. The UK defense forced six straight punts to open the game.
Middleton has been a presence in the middle of the Wildcats’ defensive line, recording 19 tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss in eight games. He has started each of the past seven games for the Wildcats.