2018 Kentucky Football Post Season Awards
Mark Stoops’ club wrapped up its best season since 1977 with a 10-3 record and Citrus Bowl win. The 10 wins marked only the third time in school history that Kentucky has reached double figures in wins. The other two were in 1950 and 1977. With both individual and team achievements let’s look back at a historic season with the 2018 Kentucky Football Post Season Awards.
September 8th Versus Florida– For 31 straight years and in every way possible Kentucky had lost to the Gators. However in the season’s second week the Cats finally broke through for a 27-16 victory.
Behind strong performances from Benny Snell and Terry Wilson the Cats dominated in “The Swamp.” In only his second collegiate game Wilson threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns. In addition he ran for 105 more yards and another score.
Snell rushed for 175 yards signaling what was to be a record setting campaign. When all was said and done Kentucky defeated Florida for the first time since 1986 and first time in Gainesville since 1979.
Runner-Up- Citrus Bowl versus Penn State- Over the last three years the Kentucky football team has gone 13-11 in the SEC, the best three year stretch since the 1950’s. While the Cats have finally gained some respect in the league nationally they still have a long way to go.
The Cats needed a “big name” win in a bowl in order to gain notoriety. As they were many times in 2018 Kentucky went into the Citrus Bowl as the underdog. In defeating the Nittany Lions of the Big 10 27-24 they dominated most of the game. Kentucky’s final ranking of 11th was the highest since 1977.
Also Nominated- November 24th versus Louisville. Not only did the Wildcats win back the Governor’s Cup they laid a 56-10 whipping on the Cardinals. The victory marks the Cats biggest victory in the series since a 73-0 dismantling back in 1922. Wilson earned the Howard Schnellenberger Award for outstanding player throwing for 261 yards and three touchdowns. In addition he added another 79 yards on the ground and another score.
Outstanding Achievement On Offense-
The winner is Benny Snell- In only three seasons in Lexington Snell rewrote the Kentucky record books. He finished with 3,873 yards breaking the record of Sonny Collins. In addition his 48 career touchdowns almost doubled the previous mark of 26 also by Collins. He even threw for a score in Kentucky’s win over Murray State. His touchdown total ranks third in SEC history behind only Herschel Walker’s 49 and Tim Tebow’s 57.
Snell closed out his career in grand style with an MVP performance in the Citrus Bowl. Rushing for 144 yards and two touchdowns Snell helped the Cats ran out the clock against Penn State.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) January 1, 2019
Also nominated Lynn Bowden and Terry Wilson. In his first season as a collegiate quarterback Wilson led the Cats to ten victories. He ranked third in the conference in completion percentage and passed for 11 touchdowns. Furthermore he threw for almost 2,000 yards and ran for another 500. It’s going to be interesting to see how Wilson performs in 2019 with a year under his belt.
In a breakout sophomore season Bowden showed why he was Kentucky’s top rated recruit in the 2017 class. His 67 receptions ranked fourth in the SEC to go along with five touchdowns. Bowden had two punt returns for scores which tied him for the NCAA lead. The punt return against Penn State set the tone for the Wildcat victory. The junior to be should be in the mix for All-SEC honors in 2019.
In continuing with our 2018 Kentucky Football Post Season Awards let’s switch sides and look at the defense.
Outstanding Achievement On Defense-
The Winner Is– Josh Allen –Quite simply the senior had the best year in the history of Kentucky football. During the regular season Allen recorded 14 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. In addition he led the team in tackles with 88 and seven quarterback hurries.
Not only was he the SEC Player of the Year he racked up almost every major award. By winning the Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Award and the Lott Impact Trophy Allen put himself if exclusive company.
— Corey Price (@coreyp08) December 17, 2018
Allen saved his best for last with three sacks and three tackles for loss in the Wildcats’ Citrus Bowl win over Penn State.
The former two star recruit out of New Jersey was headed to Monmouth before Stoops and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow offered him a scholarship. Now Allen leaves Lexington as the best defender to ever wear the blue and white and a potential top five NFL draft pick.
Also nominated Darius West and Mike Edwards– In his senior season West had a breakthrough campaign. He finished second on the team with 86 tackles and first with three interceptions. Furthermore, the safety’s six pass breakups ranked second.
Edwards finished second on the team in interceptions with two, and in pass breakups with six. In addition his nine-and-a-half tackles for loss ranked second for Matt House’s defense. Edwards and West are both seniors and leave big holes in the secondary.
Thanks for reliving a memorable season with the 2018 Kentucky Football Post Season Awards here at Last Word On College Football. It promises to be a busy off season as the Cats look to build on the momentum from a historic campaign.