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Snell Carries UK to Citrus Bowl Victory Over Penn State, 27-24

Posted at 4:47 PM, Jan 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-02 04:44:28-05
Penn State safety Nick Scott (4) stops Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. (26) after a short gain during the first half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Benny Snell, Jr. ran into the record books by helping Kentucky knock off Penn State 27-24 in the Citrus Bowl.

The Nittany Lions got the ball first and after UK forced a punt, Penn State went for a fake that Kentucky easily stopped. Benny Snell, Jr. rushed a couple of times for 16 yards but the Wildcats had to settle for a Miles Butler 28 yard field goal. The Wildcats take a 3-0 lead.

Kentucky would force another punt by Penn State but it was a good one down to the UK three. The Cats would have to punt and gave the Nittany Lions a short field. They would drive to the UK 23 but missed a 40 yard field goal. The score remained unchanged. UK up 3-0.

A UK punt pinned the Nittany Lions deep and penalties backed them up inside their five. On 3rd down, Kash Daniel got his first sack of the season. forcing a punt. Lynn Bowden came in to field it and went back 58 yards for the touchdown. UK would lead 10-0.

That woke up Penn State. The Nittany Lions put together a 5 play, 75 yard drive and it only took less than two minutes. Trace McSorley would hit Nick Bowers for a one yard pass to cut the UK lead to 10-7.

The teams traded possession but neither was able to score. Penn State got it right before the break and started to drive thanks to a McSorley 12 yard run and another of the same distance by Ricky Slade. But, Pinegar had his field goal blocked by Josh Allen.

UK would take a 10-7 lead into halftime. Penn State had more yards 176 to just 87 for Kentucky. Benny Snell rushed for 43 yards in the half, Terry Wilson was 4-8 for 29 yards. There was no third down conversion, Penn State 0-8, UK 0-7.

Kentucky was 5-0 when leading at the half. And the offense came alive to start the 2nd half. Snell took off on a 32 yard gain that included a hurdle over a would-be tackler. Terry Wilson hit Lynn Bowden for an 8 yard game but targeting call and ejection moved the ball 15 more yards down field. Wilson would carry it down to the two yard line and Snell would punch it in from there as UK would take a 17-7 lead.

T.J. Carter would come up with a sack forcing another Penn State punt. UK would capitalize. Wilson would hit Bowden and he was pushed out of bounds. The UK offense couldn’t move it and settled for a 28 yard field goal. Cats take a 20-7 lead.

Kentucky would get the ball back. Wilson hit Bowden and he went 54 yards before he was knocked out of bounds. Benny Snell, Jr. would then run into the record books. He carried it 12 yards for the touchdown and that made him UK’s all-time leading rusher, surpassing Sonny Collins.

Penn State would strike back quickly in the 4th quarter. 10 plays, 75 yards in just 2:58 of game time. McSorley would score on a one yard run. 27-14 UK in front.

The Nittany Lions would get the ball back and take it 6 plays, 60 yards in 2:24 seconds to score. McSorley would hit Pat Freiermuth for the 18 yard score. UK up just 27-21.

Again UK couldn’t move it and had to punt with 7:46 to go in the game. Penn State would drive but had to settle for another Pinegar field goal from 32 yards out. UK’s lead was down to just 27-24.

Kentucky would run the clock out and Penn State had one chance with :01 left in the game. There was no desperation play. Kentucky wins 27-24. Snell had 26 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson was 9-15 for 121 yards. Bowden had 84 receiving yards and Josh Allen had 4 tackles, 3 sacks and a quarterback hurry.

Kentucky wins its first bowl game since 2009 and first New Year’s Day bowl game since 1952.