clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2 Years later, Kentucky may have found its Boom Williams replacement

A.J. Rose has a chance to help recreate the Boom Williams-Benny Snell duo Kentucky once had.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

The last time two Kentucky rushers ran for over 100 yards in the same game was Benny Snell (192) and Boom Williams (182) on October 29th, 2016 at Missouri.

It happened again Saturday in Kentucky’s win over Central Michigan. This time, it was again Benny Snell leading the way (124), but he paired with A.J. Rose, who went for 104 yards.

Not only did the combo both go over 100 yards, but they both found the end zone twice and had touchdown runs longer than 50 yards.

For Rose, it was quite the statement. As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Rose only had 15 rushing attempts. Heading into 2018, he was unknown by many Kentucky fans.

That was until the annual spring game at Kroger field in April. Rose left fans impressed with with an electrifying 134-yard, three-touchdown performance on just 11 carries.

The game was a big confidence builder for Rose. He knew it was just a first step, however, saying only about a week before the season opener he was, “looking forward to putting that into all 12 games this season”.

If game No. 1 of 12 is what Kentucky fans can expect to see from Rose each week, they should be very excited.

Rose ran all over the CMU defense, going for 104 yards and two touchdowns. His longest run of the day came on his very first one. A 55-yard touchdown that was the team’s first score of the 2018 season.

After the game, Rose was thrilled with his performance.

“I showed a flash in the spring and showed what I like to do. I went out there today trying to showcase my full potential, and I feel like I did a great job with that.”

As excited as Rose was about his performance, his roommate and fellow running back, Snell, may have been even more excited.

With an ear to ear smile, Snell said of Rose’s big performance, “We woke him up.

On forming a 1-2 punch duo with Rose, Snell talked with great excitement.

“It has been a long time coming. This was our plan before the season it’s all coming into play now and this is only the beginning.”

Watching Snell and Rose both dominate the game, it was hard not to think back to the 2016 season where Snell and Boom Williams seemingly both went over 100 yards week in and week out.

In 2016, Snell ran for 1,091 yards for 13 touchdowns, while Williams got 1,170 yards with seven scores.

Watching Rose’s style of play, the Rose-Williams comparison is hard not to talk about.

Rose is a taller back at 6-1 than Williams was at 5-8. However, both of their biggest strengths is explosiveness and making defenders miss. Neither being a power back like Snell.

The Cats seem to have found the explosive runner they’ve been missing since Williams left after the 2016 season.