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Ole Miss defense turns its attention to Kentucky running back Benny Snell

Ole Miss defense turns its attention to Kentucky running back Benny Snell

Lexington, KY – When Ole Miss faces Kentucky Saturday in Lexington, the Rebels will look to contain Benny Snell, Jr. — the Wildcats’ running back who has the ability to stampede over defenders. At 5-foot-11 and 223 pounds, Snell has firepower behind his frame that gives defenses fits.

Benny Snell, Jr. rushed for a season-high 180 yards as UK rallied to down Tennessee. (Photo courtesy UK Athletics)

The Rebels (3-5, 1-4 SEC) will face a challenge in limiting Snell, who currently sits at third place in the Southeastern Conference with 721 rushing yards.

In four of Kentucky’s eight games this season, Snell has rushed for over 100 yards. His best effort came in last week’s 29-26 home victory over Tennessee where he rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries.

In the Wildcats’ two losses this season against Florida and Mississippi State, Snell rushed for a combined 77 yards and didn’t see the end zone. To have their best chance of winning, the Rebels’ defense will have to do what the Gators and Bulldogs were able to do: hold Snell to under 100 yards.

Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke is impressed with Snell’s abilities.

Benny Snell is one of the better running backs that we’ll face all season. They do a great job in the running game.

Matt Luke on Kentucky RB Benny Snell

Snell’s success has been aided by Kentucky’s offensive line as well as the Wildcats’ quarterback, Stephen Johnson. Johnson’s throwing arm and mobility have at times confused defenses, as the Rancho Cucamonga, California native is capable of scrambling outside the pocket and making plays with his feet.

With Snell’s success rushing the ball, however, Johnson has merely had to manage the clock, make the right reads with his receivers, and not turn the football over. For the season, Johnson has thrown for 1,401 yards and nine touchdowns. He has completed 59.60 percent of his passes.

“It’s complimented by Stephen Johnson, their quarterback,” Luke said about the success the Wildcats’ offense has been able to have. “He can run it and throw it.”

The Rebels’ defense will have its hands full come Saturday afternoon.

“We just have to keep getting better and focus,” Luke said. “I think focus is the key, doing it consistently every time. If we’re not in the right place and doing the right thing every time, we’re not good enough to overcome that. When you make a mistake, it gets magnified.

“For us, the margin for error is very small. We just have to continue to focus and be right all the time.”

Game info:

Kickoff between Ole Miss and the Wildcats (6-2, 3-2) is set for 3:00 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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