Bowden takes the snap

Center Drake Jackson (52) prepares to snap the ball back to Lynn Bowden in a game earlier this year.

MURRAY — After the Wildcats dominated Louisville on Saturday, quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. has earned multiple awards for his efforts on the ground in the 45-13 win.

He was named the College Football Performance Awards Performer of the Week, earned one of the eight Manning Award Stars of the Week, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl College, and the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week. It was his third SEC Offensive Player of the Week honor in seven games as UK’s starting quarterback.

“I had to just trust my speed. My coach and my teammates have been getting on me because I cut too much, and I definitely agree with that,” Bowden said in the postgame press conference. “I trust my cut ability more than my speed and (Saturday) I just wanted to try something new and strike a match.”

Bowden was already listed as a finalist for the Paul Horning Award, which goes to the nation’s most versatile player and the wide receiver turned quarterback has proven his versatility this year as he ranks ninth-nationally in all-purpose yards. He averaged 153 yards per game (not including passing yardage) and he was one of only three players in the top nine nationally with rushing, receiving, punt return and kickoff return yards.

On Saturday, Bowden set Governor’s Cup records for most rushing yards and most rushing touchdowns and was given the Howard Schnellenberger Award as the game’s Most Valuable Player. The Wildcats also broke several team records for offensive output in Governor’s Cup history. The team had the most rushing yards: 517, Kentucky (old record, 363 by Louisville, 2006), most rushing touchdowns: six, Kentucky (tied record by Louisville, 2006), fewest passing attempts: two, Kentucky (old record, 14 by Kentucky, 1994), fewest completions: one, Kentucky (old record, seven by Kentucky, 1994), fewest passing yards: four, Kentucky (old record, 79 by Louisville, 2018), fewest penalties: two, Kentucky (old record, three by Kentucky 1994 and 2005, Louisville 2006).

“All week we separated offense and defense. Every time we would ask what they looked like, they would say they were going to come out and dominate,” Wildcats defensive end Calvin Taylor Jr. said. “They were going to run for a lot of yards. They did tonight and we are really proud of that. Seeing Lynn, in his possibly last game, go out with a bang like that. I am really happy for my teammates because we had a lot of adversity this year. Nobody will understand. We never faltered, we just stayed together and got tighter. It feels great to see that happen tonight.”

Bowden did his part with the most rushing yards, 284, which eclipsed the old record of 186 set by Lamar Jackson in 2015. He also had the most rushing touchdowns in Governor’s Cup history with four, which surpassed the record of three by Michael Bush in 2006. 

His 284 yards in one game is the third-most in the nation this season. The 284 yards also broke the Southeastern Conference record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game. He averaged 12.9 yards per rushing attempt, third-best in SEC history (min. 20 attempts), highlighted by a career-long 60-yard touchdown run. 

“Lynn Bowden, first and foremost, is just a tremendous person and a tremendous athlete. He’s a firecracker, he’s very explosive. I’m glad that he’s on my end, he’s on my side,” Wildcats safety Jordan Griffin said. “That’s my brother, and I’m very happy for him and his future of course.”

The Youngstown, Ohio native, who earned First-Team Midseason All-America honors as an all-purpose player by The Associated Press and ESPN, is averaging 8.2 yards per rushing attempt and is in contention to break the school record. That mark leads the SEC and ranks second nationally.

 He also is the only player in the nation leading his team in both rushing (1,235) and pass receiving (348) yardage. He ranks 13th on UK’s career receptions list with 114 and is 18th on the career receiving yards list with 1,303 yards.

“He is a phenomenal player. There is nothing he can’t do,” Wildcats running back Christopher Rodriguez Jr. said.

“In our business, if you are going to be an Alpha dog, then you be an Alpha dog and that’s him (Bowden). When you do that time and time again and prove it and put the team on your back, and say, let’s ride, let’s do this, you know, it’s remarkable,” Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops said.

“I compare them, and please don’t misquote me on this, if you’re going to say it, say the whole thing, because Lamar Jackson was probably maybe the greatest player that I ever competed against, but what I admire so much about him is how competitive he is. You know, he’s a remarkable quarterback and a remarkable talent, but you can tell, what I’ve always admired about him is after that year when we were fortunate and came back and won up there, but that next year when he came down here, it was like, come on, put that team on your back and it was over. He wasn’t going to let anything happen because he was a complete Alpha dog. He was taken over. And Lynn, in that regard, is one of the most competitive people I’ve seen. So again, don’t say I’m comparing them to Lamar and all that. Lamar is a fantastic, remarkable player, one of the best I’ve ever seen. But both in the same regard of how competitive they are and how much they want it on their back, they want to make plays and they want to -- you know, they want to do it for their team. Really proud of Lynn and what he’s done.”

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