Kentucky Suffers Heartbreak In The Music City Bowl

Kentucky Suffers Heartbreak In The Music City Bowl

Kentucky was unable to capitalize on two empty possessions from Northwestern. It also marks the first time in program history Northwestern won a bowl game in consecutive seasons. NU got stuffed, allowing United Kingdom to take over and march to a TD with 37 seconds left.

Northwestern got the ball to start the second half of the Music City Bowl. Facing a fourth-and-1 from its own 39-yard line, Fitzgerald opted to keep his offense on the field instead of punting it back to Kentucky. Earlier in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats, leading 17-14, had another fourth-and-1, this time from the United Kingdom two-yard line. Unfortunately for Stoops, Johnson's two-point pass fell incomplete, and Northwestern recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the victory. Kentucky lost running back Benny Snell an ejection for contact with an official early in the second quarter, and Northwestern lost leading tackler and linebacker Paddy Fisher before halftime when he was ejected for targeting. Several Kentucky players also approached to offer encouragement and shoulder taps. Unable to get the touchdown, United Kingdom settled for a 48 yard field goal from Austin MacGinnis. Stephen Johnson connected with Tavin Richardson for a 26 yard gain and then again for a 37 yard pick-up down to the 3 yard line. Johnson then found Richardson for 14 yards down to the 3.

Drew Barker would come on the field for the final:31 of the first half.

Northwestern missed a field goal late in the third quarter as Charlie Kuhbander was wide right from 43 yards out. The senior responded with 155 yards and two touchdowns.

Kentucky roared back on the first drive of the second half. "We got it did you see the replay?" On the drive, Sihiem King rushed for 12 yards.

"The thing I'll remember most is when all our players, my brothers came up to me and said 'You got this". Northwestern turned the interception into points when Jackson scored from 2 yards out, growing Northwestern's lead to 10. When added to his 5,283 career rushing yards entering the game (which included four seasons of at least 1,150 yards), it put him in the top 10 on the official all-time leaderboard among FBS and Division I-A running backs. He finished his career with 27 100-yard games.

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DEFENSE: A. The NU defense got a big break when star United Kingdom running back Benny Snell, Jr., got booted for making contact with an official in the second quarter.

Kentucky's defense proved especially vulnerable against the run as the regular season wore on, which could lead to trouble in the postseason.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is doused after Northwestern beat Kentucky 24-23 in the Music City Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.

MacGinnis' school record 22nd field goal on the season made it 24-17.

Kentucky doesn't have much of a résumé: 7-5 without a win over a ranked team, and blowout losses to Mississippi State, Georgia and Louisville.

Snell's ejection seemed to totally rattle Kentucky and Northwestern seized the momentum. Thorson was carted off the field and did not return to the game. Kentucky (7-6) was hoping it could notch an 8-win season for the first time since 2007. Junior quarterback Clayton Thorson left with a leg injury early in the second quarter, so Jackson spearheaded NU's rushing game to 333 yards on 56 attempts.

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