Welcome to college football Benny Snell.
For seemingly all of fall training camp, Snell was frequently mentioned as a player emerging in the Kentucky Wildcats’ offense. This, despite being just a three-star true freshman whose only major offers were from UK, Cincinnati, and Iowa.
Against New Mexico State, Snell looked like he could be playing for just about any Power 5 team. He finished with 136 yards and four scores on just 17 rushes (8 yards per carry), most of which were sheer power runs in which it took multiple defenders to bring him down.
But just as good as Snell was, so too was Stephen Johnson. Filling in for an injured Drew Barker, Johnson erupted for 310 passing yards and three scores on 17-of-22 passing to go with 51 rushing yards on 10 carries.
His mobility helped open up the ground game for all the UK backs, and UK may have not won this game without Johnson.
As you can imagine, that’s already got Snell claiming Johnson should be the starting QB going forward.
Freshman RB Benny Snell had a breakout, four-touchdown night. A reporter asked if he’d give the job to Johnson, his response was simple: “Yeah.”
“I saw an animal,” Snell said of Johnson. “You know what I’m saying? He really did his thing. When his number was called he was ready.”
However, there may be no need for a Barker vs Johnson controversy. After the game, head coach Mark Stoops said that Barker’s back injury was serious enough that he was transported to the hospital to have it examined and have an MRI done.
Stoops also had no update to the severity of the injury, nor would he commit to who the starting QB be going forward. I think it’s safe to think Johnson will be the starter next week vs South Carolina, all things considered.
How well Johnson does in that game should dictate how soon Barker is given a chance to keep this job when/if he returns.