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Kentucky’s biggest bowl game moments under Mark Stoops

There have been some good postseason moments under Mark Stoops.

Stoops Belk Bowl Trophy Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats football program is heading to their sixth straight bowl game under Mark Stoops, an incredible feat for a program that struggled to make bowl games, consistently, prior to Stoops’ arrival.

Along with bowl appearances, you’re going to run into great moments, and there has been no shortage of them with five straight, now six, bowl game appearances.

Here are just some of the most notable.

Benny Snell is ejected

Starting this one off pretty controversial, is the ejection of Benny Snell Jr., in the 2017 Music City Bowl against Northwestern. Kentucky was looking for their first bowl win under Mark Stoops, and their first 8-win season since 2007.

An official leaned down to help Snell up off the ground, Snell didn’t accept his help, and the official promptly ejected Snell, potentially leading to a Kentucky loss.

Why is this good? It spawned one of the best UK football commercials in recent memory. Benny Snell, along with a plethora of other players came back the following season to avenge that moment and loss, leading to Kentucky’s best season in school history in 2018.

Lynn Bowden sparks the Citrus Bowl

Heading to their best bowl game in school history, Kentucky found themselves taking on Penn State in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day. Primetime audience. Top-15 matchup. Kentucky had made it.

After they stopped Penn State on a fake punt, Kentucky held a 3-0 lead over the Nittany Lions in the first quarter.

Then Lynn Bowden sparked it.

Punting from their own end-zone, Penn State kicked it right to Bowden, who returned the punt from midfield for a touchdown, the first one of the game.


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Bowden cements his legacy

After a year of turmoil at the quarterback position, Kentucky landed on a wide receiver taking snaps at the QB position. A run-first, and run-only, offense led Kentucky to a Belk Bowl appearance against Virginia Tech.

It turned into a shoot-out between the two schools, trading punches, literally and figuratively, back and forth during the game.

Kentucky had the ball for one final drive, down a touchdown, Lynn Bowden led the Wildcats down field, on all run plays.

And then, for Bowden’s final play as a Kentucky Wildcat, Bowden threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Josh Ali, who slipped by his man for a beautifully thrown ball.

Benny Snell makes history

Benny Snell’s 2018 campaign is arguably the best a running back has had at Kentucky. And to cap it off, he made sure he would go down as the best running back to ever wear the blue and white.

On a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Benny Snell set the record for the most all-time rushing yards at the University of Kentucky with 3,843 yards. Truly a legend.

10-3

Staying on the Citrus Bowl, Kentucky was looking for their first 10-win season since the 1970’s. 10 wins seemed impossible just a few seasons prior, especially going for 10 against Penn State.

Doesn’t matter, as Kentucky dominated the game, up until the fourth quarter, and capped off their best regular season, with a 27-24 Citrus Bowl win over the Nittany Lions to reach 10-3 for the first time under Mark Stoops.

Led by Benny Snell and Josh Allen, the 2018 Kentucky Wildcats squad will be one of the most beloved teams in UK athletics history. Although 2021 can rival that with a win vs Iowa in the Wildcats’ second Citrus Bowl appearance in four seasons.

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