Kentucky Football: Wildcat defense stands tall while Rose is MVP in Gator Bowl win

Kentucky Wildcats. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Kentucky Wildcats. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Christopher Rodriguez
Runningback Chris Rodriguez, Jr. of Kentucky. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Rose, Rodriguez, and Smoke a three-headed running attack.

At one point during the 2020 season, Rose was public enemy #1 in BBN land. Everyone remembers the first play from scrimmage during the Ole Miss game. Rose broke away for a runaway touchdown, only to showboat and get caught by an Ole Miss defender. He then proceeded to later in the drive fumble the ball on the goal line and Ole Miss recovered.

Rose luckily was able to put that behind him, and turn in a respectable senior year to conclude finishing with 666 yards on 106 carries.

Rose put together one of the quietest careers of any Kentucky player I have ever seen. In what was probably his final game at Kroger Field back in December, Rose was able to etch himself in elite company rushing himself all the way into the top 10 career rushers in Kentucky history.

As for the Gator Bowl, Rose was able to go out a winner along with many seniors who played their last game as a Wildcat. Rose was able to break off many long runs including one for 44 yards, ending his afternoon with 148 yards on the ground, and more than likely ending his career with 1,971 yards on the ground.

Rose reflected after the game on what it meant to play for Kentucky,

"“It just shows that the guys that come here stick with the program,” Rose said. “Five straight bowl games since I’ve been here. Throughout it all, this was a great win. I’m ecstatic, I can’t put it into words.”"

Rodriguez Jr. carried 17 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while Smoke finished with nine carries for 45 yards. The future will be bright with these two.