LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky junior kicker Austin MacGinnis and freshman running back Benny Snell Jr. were named Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week, respectively, for their standout performances in Saturday’s 40-38 victory over Mississippi State, the league announced on Monday.
This is only the second time in school history that Kentucky has had two players honored for the same game. In 2007, linebacker Wesley Woodyard was SEC Defensive Player of the Week and guard Jason Leger was SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following a win at Arkansas.
MacGinnis drilled a game-winning 51-yard field goal as time expired to give the Wildcats a thrilling victory over Mississippi State, capping a night that saw him connect on 4-of-5 field goal attempts. It was the first game-winning field goal in the closing seconds of regulation for UK since Seth Hanson hit a 33-yarder to defeat LSU in Baton Rouge on Oct. 17, 1998 and just the second time in school history a kicker made a field goal of at least 50 yards on the final play of the game in a UK victory, the first coming on Nov. 2, 1991 when Doug Pelfrey made a 53-yarder to defeat Cincinnati 20-17 at Commonwealth Stadium.
MacGinnis’ 14 points scored included made field goals from 51, 46, 32 and 32 yards. The Wedowee, Ala. native is now 9-of-11 on field goals this season and 43-of-55 for his career, and owns the school-record for longest made field goal, set when he drilled a 54-yarder at Tennessee in 2014 as a redshirt freshman.
Snell, a true freshman from Westerville, Ohio, churned out 128 rushing yards against Mississippi State on 19 carries, including a career-long 34-yard touchdown run. It was Snell’s second 100-yard effort in just his first seven career games and the 128 rushing yards marked the most for a UK true freshman against an SEC opponent since Derek Homer had 137 yards against Tennessee on Nov. 22, 1997.
Snell’s 469 rushing yards this season are the most by a UK player through the first seven team games of his freshman season since Moe Williams in 1993 (597 yards).