Missouri-Kentucky Matchup Features Impressive Freshmen Running Backs

Damarea Crockett and Benjamin Snell Jr. have emerged as two of the Southeastern Conference's best young running backs.

Two of the Southeastern Conference’s top freshmen running backs, Damarea Crockett and Benjamin Snell Jr. will be on display when Missouri hosts Kentucky on Saturday morning. 

Crockett has been a revelation in the backfield for Missouri so far this season, leading the Tigers in rushing (546 yards) and touchdowns (seven) through the first seven games. 

http://www.scout.com/college/missouri/story/1720686-missouri-kentucky-by...

The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder is coming off a career game against Middle Tennessee, rushing for 156 yards and scoring four touchdowns — both single-game school records for Missouri true freshmen. He’s the first true freshman in school history to record three 100-yard rushing performances.

“I just see a very, very good player,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said of Crockett on the SEC teleconference on Wednesday. “Very explosive. Reminds me of Boom (Stanley Williams) and some of our guys. But he’s big, I think he’s around 220 pounds. So I see a very good player, very explosive, great vision. He’s got a great future. He’s having a great year and he’s going to be around for a while.”

Crockett’s early success has helped Missouri (2-5 overall, 0-3 in SEC play) average 200 yards per game on the ground — good for sixth in the 14-team SEC. Kentucky (4-3, 3-2) is right behind the Tigers, averaging 197 rushing yards per game.  

A big reason for Kentucky’s success is that Snell, also listed at 5-11 and 220 pounds, has emerged as a compliment to the Wildcats’ leading rusher, Stanley Williams

Williams, a junior, has rushed for 639 yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and scored two touchdowns. Snell has rushed for 469 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry, and leads UK with six touchdowns. 

“If you watch them both run … you do see some similarities,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “Both, it seems to me, as the year has gone on they have gotten better each week. There’s a lot of really good backs in the conference and for those two guys to play the way they are right now, as young as they are, with Damarea, working with him, he’s gotten better every week and he’s understand pad level, he’s understanding the speed of the game and he’s gotten better. We have to continue to put something on him because he’s going to help carry us through the next couple weeks here.”

Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com.

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