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Bowden Wows for Kentucky

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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In Kentucky's 45-13 win over rival Louisville on Saturday, Lynn Bowden, Jr. had a signature performance for the ages: 22 carries, 284 yards and four touchdowns.

Quarterback, wide receiver or return specialist, Kentucky's Lynn Bowden, Jr. can and has done it all. He defies positions, save playmaker, simply one of the best and most unique talents in all of college football. The Wildcats' leading pass-catcher each of the last two years and an all-conference return specialist, Bowden has suddenly led his side as a direct and dynamic signal caller. In Kentucky's 45-13 win over rival Louisville on Saturday, Bowden had a signature performance for the ages: 22 carries, 284 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

All on the big stage of the Governor's Cup, facing the much-improved Cardinals, Bowden became just the fourth SEC player in a generation with at least 280 yards and four scores, joining Derrius Guice, Tre Mason and Dexter McCluster; his 12.9 yard-per-carry average stands as the highest of them all. Bowden's last three touchdown runs were from 60, 46 and 32 yards out, respectively. 

The end result, for Bowden, was one of the great individual showings in SEC history.

Overall, Bowden set the tone for a staggering single-game school record of 517 rushing yards, with six touchdowns, in the victory. He even completed a pass for good measure. Christopher Rodriguez, Jr. ran nine times for 125 yards, while Kavosiey Smoke added a 70-yard sprint and Asim Rose also found the endzone.

It was a fitting finish for Kentucky, who moves to 5-2 with Bowden under center. The Wildcats have won four of their last five outings, scoring 29, 38, 50 and 45 points in those wins. Big blue is red hot, a trend that will carry over into the postseason next. In a famed Citrus Bowl triumph over Penn State a year ago, Bowden caught five passes for 84 yards and had a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown. He will soon enter bonus play as one of college football's rising superstars, currently, at least in terms of where he lines up, as a quarterback.  

All that Bowden has done this season is absolutely unparalled. Beyond his unforeseen efforts as a passer, where Bowden has well over 300 yards and a couple of scores, his all-purpose production stands alone. He is the first and only FBS college football player this milllennium with 1,200 rushing yards, 200 kick return yards, 30 receptions, and 300 passing yards in one year; remarkably, Bowden hasn't returned a kick or caught a pass since September.

Bowden joins fellow Kentucky legend Randall Cobb as the nation's only players the last 20 years with at least 100 career receptions, 1,200 rushing yards and two punt returns for touchdown. Throw in their respective versatility, and stints at quarterback, and Bowden is very much following in Cobb's famed footsteps. Bowden has more to come. Selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Cobb has gone on to a Pro Bowl NFL career.

Already, Bowden has a place in the record books. His showcase Saturday, leading a rout of rival Louisville, earned Bowden a place in Kentucky lore.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports